In recent developments in the Rose Valley Ponzi scam case, the Enforcement Directorate on Friday questioned the CEO of Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders in connection with the money laundering probe. Venky Mysore, CEO of the KKR IPL team and Red Chillies Entertainment, both linked to Hindi film industry star Shah Rukh Khan. Shah Rukh was called upon and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Shah Rukh Khan’s company came under the Enforcement Directorate’s scanner which later alleged that money, more than what was mentioned in the deal that was signed, was transferred between the actor’s Red Chillies, a movie production and Distribution Company, and Rose Valley, sponsors of Kolkata Knight Riders. The ED also suspected that money was also transferred abroad via Kolkata Knight Riders.
According to a report in The Economic times, Rose Valley had given sponsorship money of Rs 5.5 crore to KKR in 2012 during IPL season 5 while in season 6 in 2013, Rose Valley had claimed to have provided Rs 6.05-crore as sponsorship money to KKR. Essentially Rose Valley was one of the sponsors of KKR, a cricket franchise representing Kolkata in the Indian Premier League (IPL) owned by Shah Rukh’s company Red Chillies Entertainment in partnership with actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta from the Mehta Group. The agreement between the two companies also included the Bollywood icon himself promoting Rose Valley resorts at Mandarmoni, Lataguri and Port Blair.
According to a report in Firstpost, the Enforcement Directorate had filed an FIR against the Rose Valley group, its Chairman and others in 2014 which was followed by the arrest of group Chairman Gautam Kundu in 2015 by the agency. The ED has also attached assets worth Rs 2,300 crore, including hotels and resorts in the probe. Multiple charge sheets had been filed by the ED in the courts of Kolkata and Bhubaneswar.
According to reports, the group had allegedly floated a total of 27 companies for running the alleged chit fund operations out of which about half-a-dozen were active. The ED has alleged that the scheme was floated and investors were promised inflated returns on investments between eight and 27 per cent in various states. The ED has pegged the total volume of the alleged irregularities at Rs 15,000 crore, including interest and penalties.
With big names like Shah Rukh Khan linked with the scam, it remains to be seen how the investigations unfold. Earlier Shah Rukh Khan was also under the scanner for his link with multi-level QNET marketing scam case. According to a MoneyLife report, the Cyberabad police had issued notices to many big stars of Bollywood, including Rukh Khan as these stars had participated in the company’s programs.
In another case, a Benami Transaction had also come to light in which the actor has been accused of flouting the law, in which he was allegedly helped by his relatives. Shah Rukh Khan has been accused of violating the law by building a luxury farmhouse on land meant for agricultural purposes at Alibag near Mumbai. The Income Tax Department had also attached the farmhouse allegedly belonging to the actor who holds the property in his purported capacity as a “beneficial owner”, while the “benamidar” is a person or a fictitious person in whose name the Benami property is transferred or held. The sprawling farmhouse spread over an area of 19,960 square metres is the subject matter of the Benami transaction by Shah Rukh Khan that is under the scanner of the I-T Department.
It is certainly shocking that rich and powerful actors such as Shah Rukh Khan who are looked upon as role models by many people in the country are allegedly found indulging in malpractices to evade the law. While the common people do not expect any intellectual radiance from most of the celebrities they do have a right to expect exemplary conduct when it comes to compliance with the rules, regulations and laws, which are meant to be equal for all.