New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted search and seizure operations at three premises of Byju Raveendran and his company Think & Learn Private Limited, which runs the popular online education portal BYJU’s, in Bengaluru, under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), an official said on Saturday.
Various incriminating documents and digital data were seized during the searches, a source in the know of things said.
“Searches also revealed that the company has received foreign direct investment to the tune of Rs 28,000 crore between 2011 and 2023. Further, the company has also remitted Rs 9,754 crore to various foreign jurisdictions during the same period in the name of overseas direct investment,” said the official.
A source in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said that in last two years, Raveendaran, the CEO of BYJU’s, was called many times but he did not join the investigation.
“Also, to avoid the ED, he along with his family moved to Dubai,” the source said.
The source said that with no other options left before the ED, it sent a team that conducted search operations on April 27, which went on till the night of April 28.
“Our investigation has established that BYJU’s hired Indian teachers and pressed them into service of online tuition. The teachers were asked to provide online tuition classes to foreign students. BYJU’s also collected funds from the parents of foreign children in its abroad-based account. They haven’t given us information regarding that,” the ED source said.
The ED alleged that the company has not prepared its financial statements since financial year 2020-21 and has not got the accounts audited, which is mandatory.
“Hence, the genuineness of the figures provided by the company are being cross examined from the banks. An investigation against the platform was initiated on the basis of various complaints received from various private persons. Several summons were issued to the founder and CEO Byju Raveendran. However, he always remained evasive and never appeared during the investigation,” an ED official said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of BYJU’s legal team said that the recent visit by the ED officials to one of their offices in Bengaluru was related to a routine inquiry under the provisions of FEMA.
“We have been completely transparent with the authorities and have provided them with all the information they have requested. We have nothing but the utmost confidence in the integrity of our operations, and we are committed to upholding the highest standards of compliance and ethics.
“We will continue to work closely with the authorities to ensure that they have all the information they need, and we are confident that this matter will be resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner,” he said.
Underlining that it is business as usual, the spokesperson added: “We are committed to delivering high-quality educational products and services to our customers across India and the world.”