KOCHI: The state government on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that it has decided to hand over the investigation into the case relating to cheating of investors by Konni-based Popular Finance to the CBI. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also told the media on Monday that the government has decided to hand over the case to CBI as the money siphoned off by the accused has been diverted to other states and abroad.
The state made the submission in response to a petition filed by the Popular Group Investors Association (PGIA) Kerala, Mathew Varghese of Konni and others seeking an inquiry by a central agency. The petitioners alleged that the police investigation in the alleged `2,000-crore fraud is going on in a shabby and shady manner. The firm has diverted the fund for purchasing land at various places in India and abroad. The petitioners also challenged the police’s decision to register only one FIR. They alleged that non-registration of separate FIRs on separate complaints is illegal.
Senior Public Prosecutor Suman Chakravarthy submitted that the police are conducting effective investigation and more than 500 documents have been recovered. The allegations regarding lethargy in the investigation are without any basis. Justice V G Arun asked the prosecutor why separate FIRs have not been registered when complaints have been filed across the state. The court also asked whether a special court under the relevant Act has been constituted.
The petitioners sought to initiate urgent action under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 and secure the proceeds of the crime involved in the scam.The prosecutor submitted that a comprehensive investigation has to be carried out as the company has about 238 branches and various shell companies. A special team has been constituted and the investigation is progressing.
Remand of accused extended till Sept 28
Pathanamthitta:The remand period of managing director of Popular Finance Thomas Daniel, wife and two daughters was extended till September 28. The remand period was extended by the court here on Monday, following objection raised by police on a bail petition moved by the accused. Meanwhile, district superintendent police K G Simon said that the investigation team collected documents connected with the land deals of the Popular Finance proprietors in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra after visiting the states along with the accused. Police also received evidence of the investments in other countries, including Australia, he said. Search operations are on to locate the fifth accused, Riya Thomas, said Simon.