ED seeks look out circular against Byju Raveendran amid ongoing probes

ED seeks look out circular against Byju Raveendran amid ongoing probes

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has requested the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) to issue a revised look-out circular (LOC) against Byju Raveendran, the founder and CEO of the troubled edtech firm Byju's, as per a report by Economic Times. The central agency approached BOI earlier this month, seeking to ensure that Raveendran remains within the country.

An LOC 'on intimation' had previously been issued against Raveendran more than a year and a half ago, following a request from the ED's Kochi office. However, the investigation was subsequently transferred to the agency's Bengaluru office.

The 'on intimation' LOC involves immigration authorities informing the investigating agency about the individual's overseas travel plans without preventing them from leaving the country.

The ED's Bengaluru office, currently investigating alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), has recently advocated for the issuance of a new LOC against Raveendran to restrict him from leaving the country, as per the Economic Times report.

Raveendran has reportedly been travelling between Delhi and Dubai for the past three years. Earlier this week, he was sighted visiting Bengaluru and Delhi. Raveendran informed the Economic Times that he is currently in Dubai and plans to travel to Singapore tomorrow.

The decision to seek a "revised" LOC from BOI is attributed to the "interest of investors," as stated by one of the sources.

A senior government official emphasized that even if Raveendran is abroad, the LOC, once issued, would prevent him from leaving the country upon his return, ensuring the protection of investors' interests.

The ED issued show-cause notices in November 2023 to Byju's parent company, Think & Learn Pvt Ltd, and Raveendran, alleging violations amounting to Rs 9,362.35 crore under FEMA. The ED initiated investigations based on various complaints regarding foreign investments received by Byju's and its business practices.

The company has been accused of making significant foreign remittances and investments abroad, allegedly violating FEMA provisions and causing revenue loss to the Indian government, according to a statement by the ED.

Searches were conducted at Byju's locations and Raveendran's residence in April 2023, resulting in the seizure of documents related to the company's received investments and overseas investments. The alleged violation was attributed to the company's failure to realize proceeds from exports made outside India and delays in filing documents related to foreign direct investment (FDI) and remittances made abroad.