The Enforcement Directorate made a significant announcement on Friday, stating its acquisition of 100% shares owned by M.G.M. Maran and M.G.M. Anand across four MGM group companies in India. This action stems from a money laundering case.
The ED clarified that it has taken possession of the complete shareholdings of Maran and Anand in four Chennai-based group entities: Southern Agrifurane Industries Private Ltd, Anand Transport Private Ltd, MGM Entertainment Pvt Ltd, MGM Diamond Beach Resorts Pvt. Additionally, it acquired 52,39,959 equity shares (representing 3.31%) held by Maran in Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd (TMBL), which recently got listed on the BSE. These actions were carried out under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The investigative agency highlighted Maran's chairmanship at Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd (TMBL) in 2007. During this tenure, Maran, along with other TMBL directors, allegedly facilitated the unauthorized sale of 23.60% TMB shares to overseas entities.
Further investigation revealed Maran's undisclosed foreign investments amounting to Rs 293.91 crore outside India during the same period. These investments lacked approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and stemmed from unexplained and questionable sources.
The ED's probe also unveiled Maran's attempts to move his wealth outside India post the initiation of the ED investigation. This action seemingly aimed to shield his assets from Indian law enforcement agencies. He purportedly pursued Overseas Direct Investments (ODI) and obtained Cyprus citizenship in 2016.
Previously, on December 23, 2022, the ED had attached proceeds of crime under PMLA equivalent to the entire shareholding of Maran and Anand in prominent MGM Group companies in India, as well as lands, buildings in ‘Southern Agrifurane Industries Pvt Ltd,’ and Maran's 3.31% shareholding in TMBL. This attachment was later confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority on June 14 of the current year.
Utilizing the provisions of Section 8(4) of PMLA, the ED has now taken possession of the confirmed attached properties through a notice issued on Thursday.
(With Agency Inputs)