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BYJU’s CEO Raveendran’s home, offices were raided by ED

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Raveendran Byju
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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has raided the home and offices of BYJUs CEO, Raveendran, in connection with a money laundering case. Learn more about the investigation and its potential impact on the popular edtech company in this article.

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at three premises in Bengaluru linked to BYJU’s CEO Raveendran Byju and his company ‘Think & Learn Private Limited’ (Byju online learning platform) under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The ED said it seized various *incriminating documents and digital data* during the raids.

The ED is a central agency that investigates cases of money laundering, foreign exchange violations, and other economic offenses. The FEMA is a law that regulates the transactions involving foreign exchange and foreign securities in India. The ED has the power to search, seize, and arrest any person or entity that is suspected of violating FEMA.

The ED did not disclose the details of the alleged FEMA violations by Raveendran Byju and his company. However, some sources suggested that the searches were related to foreign investments received by the ed-tech giant from various sources. BYJU’s is one of the most valued startups in India, with a valuation of over $16 billion as of April 2021. It has raised funds from several global investors, including Tencent, Naspers, General Atlantic, Tiger Global, and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

A spokesperson for BYJU’s told that the visit by the ED was related to a routine inquiry and that the company was cooperating with the authorities. The spokesperson also said that the company was in compliance with all the laws and regulations of India. But according to sources the firm has allegedly remitted abroad over Rs 9,700 crore of the Rs 28,000 crore it received as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since 2011 and suspected irregularities in the same are being probed. According to the agency, the searches have been conducted at three premises in Bengaluru including the residence of company CEO Raveendran Byju and the office premises of Think & Learn Private Limited, the parent company of Byju’s. During the search, various incriminating documents and digital data were seized.

The searches by the ED have raised questions about the regulatory environment for startups in India, especially those that receive foreign funding. Some experts have argued that the government should provide more clarity and ease of doing business for such ventures, while others have cautioned against possible misuse of funds or tax evasion by some entities.

The ED’s action against BYJU’s comes at a time when the ed-tech sector is witnessing a boom in India, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to online learning. BYJU’s claims to have over 80 million registered users and 5.5 million paid subscribers on its platform. It offers courses for students from kindergarten to grade 12, as well as test preparation and professional courses. It also acquired Aakash Educational Services, a leading offline coaching institute, for nearly $1 billion in April 2021.

Byju’s success story is an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs and educators around the world. His innovative approach to education and technology has revolutionized the way students learn and has made education more accessible and engaging for millions of people worldwide.

The ED’s probe into BYJU’s is likely to continue for some time, as the agency will examine the documents and data seized during the searches. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the reputation and operations of BYJU’s and its CEO Raveendran Byju.

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