Kerala: ED conducts multiple raids in Kannur Urban Nidhi ‘fraud’ case

The probe pertains to an alleged case of fraud and cheating by collecting deposits, promising high returns of as much as 12-13 percent.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 29, 2024 | 1:30 PMUpdatedJan 29, 2024 | 1:30 PM

ED

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on Monday, 29 January, raided multiple locations in Kerala as part of a money laundering probe linked to an alleged multi-crore fraud by the Kannur Urban Nidhi Limited, official sources said.

About four to five premises in Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, and Malappuram are being searched by the central agency, the sources said.

“Around 150 FIRs have been registered in connection with the scam so far,” Prashant Kumar, ED’s Deputy Director of Kochi Zone said as quoted by Onmanorama.

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The probe

The probe pertains to an alleged case of fraud and cheating the public by collecting deposits, promising high returns of as much as 12-13 percent.

The promoters of Kannur Urban Nidhi Ltd are alleged to have siphoned off the deposits and invested these funds into personal properties, the sources said.

The ED case, filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was registered after the agency took cognisance of as many as 150 Kerala Police and Economic Offences Wing (EOW) FIRs against the promoters and directors, including Gafur KM, Shaukat Ali, Anthony S, and a woman identified as Jina.

About ₹20 crore worth of public funds were allegedly defrauded and the ED is trying to ascertain the full scope of the fraud, the sources said.

A Kerala Police team headed by PA Binu Mohan is probing the case. Kannur Town Police Station had reportedly received over 100 complaints regarding the company in January.

The accused Gafur, Ali, Anthony, Jina, and another accused PV Pratheesh were arrested by the Kerala Police. It is also reported that Ali had told the police that Anthony was behind the scam.

The company — incorporated on 9 May 2020 — took deposits ranging from ₹20,000 to ₹5 lakh, as well as fixed deposits from ₹1 lakh to ₹34 lakh promising high returns.

(With PTI inputs)