CBI probe for Kerala gold loan firm case: HC seeks Centre’s call

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Kochi, Sep 16 (IANS) Acting on six different petitions, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday passed an interim order seeking Centre’s view on the need for a federal probe into a gold loan firm’s claim of having gone bust, besides asking police to treat each complaint as an individual case against the company.

The high court directed the Personnel Department of the Centre to take a call on the need for a CBI probe into the manner in which the leading finance firm — Popular Finance — went bust leaving thousands of depositors in the lurch.

It also asked for the cancellation of an order of the State Police chief that had directed to register one FIR bunching all complaints against Popular Finance from each district of the state.

Instead the court asked the respective police stations to treat every depositor’s complaint as a single FIR and go ahead with the case.

According to estimates, there could be around 12,000 individual complaints.

Headquartered in Pathanamthitta district, the firm has been in the business of gold loans and taking deposits from people since 1965. The company has 247 branches in the state.

It has now come to light that Rs 2,000 crore of depositor’s money has been alleged to have been misappropriated by the management.

The police by now have arrested its key partners which include the managing partner Thomas Daniel Roy and his wife Prabha. Two daughters of his were picked up at the Delhi airport, when they were trying to sneak into Australia, while a third daughter is all likely to be booked shortly.

Incidentally Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, last month soon after the scam surfaced had announced that the state will now seek Interpol’s help to track down the international links suspected in the Popular Finance fraud case.

According to sources in the know of things, while Roy has invested in properties in neighbouring states, it remains to be known if money has been diverted to Australia, where close relatives of Roy are settled and have a few business establishments.

–IANS

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