'Safe and Strong' fraud: Thrissur collector orders to attach Praveen Rana's property

Police take Praveen Rana to court. File Photo: Manorama

Thrissur: District collector V R Krishna Theja issued an order to attach the property of Praveen Rana, the prime accused in the controversial multi-crore investment fraud. Over 260 cases were registered against the accused in various police stations for swindling over Rs 150 crore from people who invested in his financial enterprise 'Safe and Strong'.

Rana was released from jail last month after spending nine months behind bars. Though Rana secured bail in all cases against him, the government may take action against him to meet the loss faced by the investors.

The order to attach properties was issued under the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019 (BUDS Act). This law empowers the police to freeze, attach and auction properties of those who defraud the public by operating unregulated deposit schemes. In the order, the collector has asked the tehsildars concerned to gather the details of the properties belonging to all accused in the case.

The case
Rana (K P Praveen), a native of Veluthur, Arimpur, in Thrissur, was the chairman and managing director of the ‘Safe and Strong’ investment firm. An MBA holder and engineering graduate, Rana established 'Safe and Strong' seven years ago as a business consultancy and chit-fund company before he started collecting deposits by promising high returns. He convinced his investors that for a deposit of Rs 1 lakh, they would earn Rs 3,000 every month. 

Praveen Rana.
Praveen Rana. Photo: Screengrab/MMTV

Though some of the investors received hefty returns, 'Safe and Strong' stopped paying interest during the post-pandemic period and several people filed a complaint against the firm. In his statement to the police, Rana claimed that he faced huge losses after producing films and organising events including weddings. 

As per the case registered by the local police and Crime Branch, Rana swindled more than Rs 150 crore from his investors. The fraud was exposed after the Registrar of Companies cancelled the firm's licence in 2022. 

Thrissur West Police registered a case after finding that the firm was functioning even after the licence was revoked. Many investors realised that the firm was operating without a licence only then. When more people started asking for their money back, Rana started withdrawing amounts from his personal and business accounts. The probe team found that Rana had withdrawn over Rs 61 crore from his personal and business accounts fearing complaints from investors and intervention of law-enforcing agencies.

The accused, who was on the run since January 6, was arrested from a colony in Pollachi on January 11. Rana was living in the colony disguised as a pilgrim. Following his arrest, the Crime Branch took over the probe into the investment fraud after identifying the accused's links with high-profile people.

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