ED arrests NRI businessman alleged to be associate of Robert Vadra

C.C. Thampi's name cropped up amid allegations of illicit land deals in Haryana

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News agencies reported on Monday that the Enforcement Directorate had arrested an NRI businessman, C.C. Thampi, on charges of money laundering.

Thampi is the owner of the Holiday Group, which has interests in the UAE and India. ANI reported that Thampi and three of his companies—Holiday City Centre, Holiday Properties and Holiday Bekal Resorts—were under Enforcement Directorate investigation for FEMA violations amounting to Rs 288 crore.

The Central agency has been probing Thampi in a case of purchase of property in Kerala in alleged contravention of the FEMA.

A show-cause notice of over Rs 1,000 crore was slapped by the ED against him in 2017. Thampi has been arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He is expected to be produced before a court on Monday for further custody.

Thampi has been alleged to be an associate of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and husband of Priyanka Gandhi. In 2019, his name cropped up amid allegations of illicit land deals in Haryana, facilitated by H.L. Pahwa.

"Investigation has revealed that C.C. Thampi had funded this land deal involving Pahwa and Gandhi. The people of the country will know that Thampi is also being probed. Thampi's friendship with Robert Vadra and controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari is well known," Union Minister Smriti Irani had alleged in March 2019. Irani alleged that Thampi and Bhandari were linked to defence and petroleum deals during the UPA rule.

Thampi, a native of Kerala. started the Holiday Group in 1981. The group claims to have interests in "infrastructure, international trading, manufacturing, tourism, hospitality and media".