Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 February 2020

UAE-businessman Thampi arrested in India in undisclosed foreign assets probe

Kerala businessman is being questioned for allegedly flouting foreign exchange rules

A UAE-based non-resident Indian businessman has been arrested in India in a probe of alleged tax and foreign exchange offences.

CC Thampi was arrested by India’s federal Enforcement Directorate on Monday in New Delhi in connection with an investigation into alleged money laundering and undisclosed overseas assets.

Mr Thampi was held under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and will appear before a court for further interrogation, Indian media reports said.

The Enforcement Directorate, a central agency that fights economic crime in India, has identified Mr Thampi as a close aide of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of India’s Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, who is also being questioned for alleged undisclosed assets.

Mr Vadra is the husband of Priyanka Gandhi, the general secretary of the country’s main opposition Congress party.

Mr Thampi is being investigated for allegedly purchasing several properties in London for Mr Vadra by routing money through numerous shell or front companies, according to India Today news magazine.

His arrest comes as part of an intensive money laundering investigation checking the source of funding for assets worth £1.9 million (Dh9m) in London, according to the IANS news agency.

The businessman from Kerala in southern India has several businesses including restaurants and hospitality and trading companies in Dubai, Ajman and other emirates. His three companies Holiday City Centre, Holiday Properties and Holiday Bekal Resorts were reportedly on the enforcement directorate's radar. His links with another company called Sky Light was also being probed.

He was questioned by the federal agency in April 2019 for his links with Mr Vadra.

The Enforcement Directorate had earlier filed a notice of a fraud of 10 billion rupees (Dh500 million) against Mr Thampi for allegedly breaching foreign exchange laws in the purchase of land in Kerala.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to victory in elections last year with a crackdown on corruption as one of its main poll mandates. Mr Modi’s first election victory in 2014 was fuelled by voters who were fed up with corruption scandals that plagued the Congress-led coalition government.

Updated: January 21, 2020 11:56 AM

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