The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Manuneethi Cholan, the registrar of companies (RoC) here, for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from M A M Ramaswamy, chairman of Chettinad Group of Companies.
In a statement, the CBI said a faction within the company’s management was trying to take control of Chettinadu Group at the annual general meeting (AGM), to be held here on Wednesday. The agency added Cholan had sought the bribe for turning down a decision to be taken at the AGM.
The CBI said it had intercepted a Honda City in which Cholan was travelling after collecting the bribe. The bribe, as well as the car, was seized. Subsequently, searches were carried out at Cholan’s residence and offices, and the company’s office at Chettinad House here; several documents and a computer hard disc were seized. An amount of Rs 20 lakh was seized from Cholan’s residence.
Calls to Chettinad Group and its managing director and group head, M A M R Muthiah, went unanswered.
According to local media reports, Ramaswamy had filed a complaint against a “family member”, saying his life was in danger. This couldn’t be independently verified.
Earlier, Ramaswamy, also known as Chettinad Arasar (king), was sheriff of this city for two terms. In 2012, Forbes had listed him as the 88th richest person in India, with a net worth of $ 650 million. An avid horse-racer, he been featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning about 300 classic races. He owns about 1,000 horses.
The Chettinad Group has 15 companies, including the listed Chettinad Cement. Other group companies are engaged in manufacturing (granite, silica and quartz), services (coal handling and engineering), information technology, wind farms and plantations.