On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate arrested Keralite Non-Resident Indian businessman C C Thampi under the anti-money laundering law. He is being probed for alleged Forex violations of over Rs 1,000 crore.
Thampi, who hails from Kunnamkulam in Thrissur district, is the chairman of Holiday Group and owns plenty of trading, hospitality and real estate companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
However, Thampi's life resembles the script of a pot-boiler movie.
Born in a poor family, Thampi's childhood was full of struggles. There were days when he could not get two square meals.
Later, he worked with an iron scrap dealer and at an electric goods shop as a daily wage labourer.
His fortunes changed when he flew to the United Arab Emirates. His friends raised money for his trip.
He started with liquor business in Ajman, one of the emirates in the UAE, before venturing into hospitality industry. Thampi expanded his business to other emirates and opened many restaurants in Dubai. He owns resorts in Ajman, Hatta and Fujairah, all in the UAE and educational institutions in India and abroad.
While expanding his business empire abroad, Thampi never missed an opportunity to maintain good relations with the leaders of political parties and religious organisations back home. He also contributed liberally to their funds.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had launched an investigation against Thampi in 2009 following allegations that he bribed All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) officials to get approval for his Thejas Engineering College in Kunnamkulam.
CBI had reportedly confiscated documents of bribe from Thampi's office and registered First Information Report against him and Manju Singh, the South Western Region head of the AICTE. However, the probe agency wound up the case citing inadequate evidences. But it reopened the case in 2017 as it 'found discrepancies in the previous probe'.
The investigation appears to have culminated in Thampi's arrest on Monday.