ED arrests BRD Group CMD Verghese in cheating case

The Enforcement Directorate has arrested C.C. William Verghese, Chairman and Managing Director of BRD Group, in connection with a cheating case. A PMLA court sent him to seven days’ ED custody.

An ED official said that Verghese was arrested from Thrissur district in Kerala on February 8 under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED registered a case on the basis of FIR filed by Kerala Police.

The complainants alleged that they were persuaded by Verghese and others to invest money in various firms promoted by him in the BRD Group companies namely — BRD Finance Ltd, BRD Securities Ltd, BRD Motors Ltd — promising 18 per cent returns per annum.

The Kerala Police FIR stated that initially money was collected as investments and the company later on issued share certificates but did not pay dividend as promised and issued bonus shares and cheated them.

The ED official said that there are around 140 FIRs registered in Kerala during 2018 and 2019 on similar allegations.

The official said that the financial probe agency collected documentary evidence and statements of various persons recorded under PMLA.

“ED searched the premises of BRD Securities Ltd, BRD Finance Ltd, BRD Motors in Kunnamkulam and Kokkalai and also the residence of Verghese in Ernakulam on January 29 this year and several incriminating documents and records were seized,” he said.

The official said that it was found that Verghese formed various entities and collected money from various persons within India and also outside India and it has been found that a number of properties were purchased by him and others in their respective names out of funds thus collected.

The proceeds of crime was generated by Verghese and others. The official claimed that Verghese is the mastermind in the whole process of planning and execution which was supported by other accused persons.

The official said that David Raj, one of the Directors of the company and close relative of Verghese, travelled to Sharjah, UAE and registered a company by name and style BRD International FZE, Hamriya Free Zone, Sharjah, UAE and collected money for investments from various Non-Resident Indians in UAE dirhams promising 18 per cent return and later issued share certificates of the BRD Group of companies in Thrissur expressed in Indian rupees.

These share certificates were also issued at the rate of Rs 120 per share.

The money was collected by cheque drawn in the name of BRD Finance Ltd, Verghese and others were collecting money for investments as aforementioned from the year 2012 onwards.

He was produced before the Special Court in Ernakulam which sent him to 7-day ED custory from February 9.