A mason’s son, he began from humble beginnings, dabbled into a number of fields together with, occasion administration, politics and even films earlier than grabbing the headlines for turning into a grasp swindler.
Kerala-based faculty dropout Ok P Praveen alias Dr Praveen Rana left a path of destruction by dishonest and deceiving a whole lot of gullible investers — his targets comprised of each wealthy businessmen and center class store keepers — earlier than his crimes caught up with him and he landed within the police internet.
From organising a political occasion to contesting Parliamentary elections to rubbing shoulders with excessive and mighty, Praveen did all of it earlier than going through the implications of his actions.
Praveen who’s suspected to have swindled greater than ₹150 crore has a number of complaints registered in opposition to him throughout the state, police stated.
Praveen moved round in swanky automobiles, was at all times circled by physique guards, spent lakhs of rupees for his picture constructing and even invested cash in movie making enterprise, stated police. Praveen’s case is the newest in a sequence of ponzi busting circumstances within the nation’s most literate state.
On the run, his crimes lastly caught up with him as he was hounded out from a quarry— his hideout — in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Praveen was arrested on Wednesday. “The accused has swindled greater than ₹150 crores and at the very least 36 complaints have been filed in opposition to him in several elements of the state,” a police official conversant in the developments stated.
Curiously, Praveen’s story has many resemblances with Kochi-based controversial vintage collector Monson Mavunkal who took many biggies for a experience and now cools his heels in jail. Praveen is the fourth such case the place an enormous chit-fund-cum monetary agency has been busted in Thrissur in a yr.
And the police are anticipate extra such discoveries. Officers within the know of the matter suspect that a number of businessmen and movie personalities who invested closely in Rana’s enterprise are holding a stiff higher lip fearing unhealthy publicity.
Praveen had emptied all his accounts earlier than fleeing from Thrissur. Later, police discovered round ₹80 crore had been withdrawn from his varied accounts in a single yr.
It’s yet one more instance how simply individuals fall prey to guarantees of excessive returns and stakes in spurious companies, in keeping with the consultants.
“There is no such thing as a finish to greed and other people need fast returns so that they wind up within the palms of such crooks”, stated Ok Jose, a tax marketing consultant in Thrissur.
“Praveen branded himself as a billionaire” and sometimes stated “he was taken beginning to finish miseries of individuals and referred to as himself a social scientist,” stated considered one of his investers, looking for anonymity.
“Once I went to fulfill him in 2018, he was surrounded by a gaggle of overseas dancers… later he took me to a dance bar which he claimed was the current addition to his chain of inns and bars. I invested ₹75 lakh instantly (in his enterprise),” stated one other complainant who didn’t need to be named.
He stated in two years Praveen ensured wholesome returns which prompted him to take a position ₹50 lakh extra in 2020. “However finally the returns dried up,” the complainant added. “I invested ₹1.25 crore and acquired solely ₹30 lakh in return,” the complainant stated.
An eminent physician in Kochi who invested ₹1 crore in Praveen’s enterprise refused to speak. Not solely influential individuals, the accused defrauded a number of retired individuals, small-time store keepers and poor NRIs by making them put money into his agency, stated police.
From a mason’s son to fraudster
Kaipully Pushkaran Praveen hailed from a decrease center class household in Thrissur. His father was a mason however later began taking on small contracts to offer good training to his son.
Rana was enrolled in an engineering faculty however dropped out later and began managing small occasion administration capabilities and a wedding bureau. In 2010, he organised an enormous present in Thrissur and invited a number of movie personalities. He gifted youth icon award to famous movie star Prithviraj Sukumaran. Although there have been many complaints after the present, police stated, this occasion actually “showcased Ok P Praveen”.
A yr later, police stated, he opened his first enterprise agency named Kaipully Enterprise Group in an upmarket space in Thrissur and began using executives.In response to the police,he began accumulating cash for which initially good returns got and his agency earned confidence very quickly.
In 2015 he re-branded his agency as “Protected and Sturdy”. Concurrently, his modest Swift automotive gave technique to Mercedes together with his fleet of luxurious automobiles rising. Ok P Praveen turned Praveen Rana and later affixed a “Dr” earlier than his identify. And his single storey home became a bungalow, stated police.
One of many officers quoted above stated, Praveen additionally employed retired police officers who gave him sufficient ideas and helped him in coping with the preliminary complaints.
“We’ll inquire about complaints concerning involvement of retired and serving officers,” stated Thrissur police commissioner Ankit Ashokan.
Rana began a manufacturing agency by the identify Kaippully Cinemas below which he produced three films. In two strikes, he performed the hero however each the movies flopped. Quickly, he began increasing his enterprise and bought a few dance bars in Goa when market was boring attributable to pandemic wave.
“He employed public relations and picture constructing companies and made engaging movies detailing about his investments and excessive connections. He has an uncanny knack to persuade individuals,” stated considered one of his earlier workers, looking for anonymity. Police have arrested six of his workers to this point.
In 2018, he floated a political occasion referred to as Royal India Individuals’s Occasion and contested 2019 Parliament election from two seats Thrissur and Wayanad. In Thrissur, he acquired 1,105 votes and Wayanad 1,102. Later the Election Fee suspended his occasion’s recognition for failing to recordsdata particulars of bills. His election affidavit confirmed he solely owned properties price ₹80 lakh.
In 2022 he produced one other movie titled “Choran,” that was additionally a flop. In truth, considered one of his flopped films was directed by a serving police officer.
“In enterprise, ups and downs are regular. I’ve not cheated individuals. I solely have some dues and I’ll clear these, as soon as I’m out,” stated Rana when he was produced in a courtroom in Thrissur on Thursday.
As enforcement companies are fighting mounting complaints in opposition to the “Protected and Sturdy,” proprietors of one other monetary agency in Thrissur “Panachery Fincorp” are absconding leaving buyers excessive and dry. Police say the newest swindling may also cross ₹200 crore.
Rana has been remanded to judicial custody until January 27. He has been booked below Part 420 of the Indian Penal Code (dishonest) and provisions of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019. In Kannur (north Kerala) 5 contemporary circumstances had been registered in opposition to him on Friday after duped buyers complained.