New Delhi: Assets worth more than Rs 305 crore of the owner of prominent Kerala-based jewellery group Joyalukkas were attached by the Enforcement Directorate on Friday in a FEMA case linked to alleged transfer of “huge cash” to Dubai by the company through hawala channels.
The attachment of assets comes two days after the federal probe agency had carried out searches at multiple premises of the Thrissur-headquartered group owned by Joy Alukkas Verghese.
“The attached assets include 33 immovable properties (valued at Rs 81.54 crore) consisting of land and residential building in Shobha City, Thrissur, three bank accounts (having deposits of Rs 91.22 lakh), three fixed deposits worth Rs 5.58 crore and shares of Joyalukkas India Pvt Ltd (valued at Rs 217.81 crore),” the ED said in a statement.
The total value of these assets, attached under section 37A of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), is Rs 305.84 crore, it said.
The retail jewellery chain had on February 17 withdrawn its Rs 2,300 crore initial public offering (IPO) without assigning any reason.
Proceed of the IPO were slated to be used for payment of debt, for financing the opening of eight new showrooms and for general corporate purposes.
The Enforcement Directorate case pertains to “huge amount of cash transferred to Dubai from India through hawala (illegal money transfer) channels and subsequently invested in Joyalukkas Jewellery LLC, Dubai which is 100 per cent owned company of Joy Alukkas Verghese,” the ED said.
It said evidence gathered during the searches — official documents and mails — “clearly proved” active involvement of Joy Alukkas in hawala transactions.
It alleged Varghese was the “beneficial owner” of the funds invested in Joyalukkas Jewellery LLC, Dubai.