Pune: Serum Institute’s Director Zavareh Poonawalla Under ED Scanner, 3 Properties In Mumbai Seized

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Pune, 8th May 2023: Zavareh Soli Poonawalla and his family members are under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for misusing the provisions of the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The ED seized three immovable properties at Ceejay House in Mumbai’s Worli, worth Rs 41.64 crore, in connection with the case.

According to the ED, the investigation revealed that Zavareh Soli Poonawalla and his family had remitted foreign exchange abroad by misusing the LRS scheme. They used the maximum permissible limit and remitted money abroad from 2011 to 2012 via mis-declarations under the pretext of ‘family maintenance and self-maintenance’. However, none of their family members was residing abroad or holding the NRI status.

The funds remitted under the LRS were allegedly invested in Stallast Limited in the British Virgin Islands, which was allegedly used to purchase four properties in the UK, including four apartments in Paddington, London. The ED found multiple FEMA contraventions in these transactions. Poonawalla and his family claimed these investments to be foreign portfolio investments, but in reality, the foreign entity was completely controlled by them. The foreign assets were not declared to the Reserve Bank of India, and they continue to hold the foreign assets to date and are continuously enjoying them.

Zavareh Soli Poonawalla was named in the Panama Papers over offshore entities. The ED is investigating the case of misuse of the LRS under the provisions of the FEMA against him and his family.

The seizure of the three immovable properties at Ceejay House in Mumbai’s Worli is a significant development in the case. The ED has been taking action against economic offenders, and the seizure of the properties is a warning to those who try to evade the law. The ED will continue to take strict action against those who misuse the LRS scheme and violate the FEMA provisions.

The investigation team is probing the case in detail to uncover any other illegal activities by the accused. The ED has also sought assistance from foreign countries to investigate the case thoroughly. The authorities are committed to ensuring that those who break the law face the consequences of their actions.


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