Earlier, Maharajan was rescued by a gang of 30 members from the police custody in Kovai
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested P Maharajan of Chennai, who is said to be the kingpin of illegal money lending racket in south Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Maharajan, a native of Thoothukudi, was in the news recently when Kerala police opened fire in air in Chennai during an operation to arrest him from his house in Natesan Nagar, Virugambakkam, on September 30.
A Kochi court granted 10-day custody of Maharajan to ED on Wednesday, following which, the agency arrested him in connection with cases registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
ED officials believe that Maharajan was the kingpin of an illegal money lending racket and extortion ring operated by him through multiple shell concerns and recovery agents. Before Kochi police arrested him on Wednesday, three of his agents were secured by Kerala police a couple of months ago. The accused had allegedly earned crores of rupees through this business.
Presently, the accused is being interrogated to gather information about the illegal earnings and trace all the accounts, the shell firms and others involved in the racket.
Kerala police had earlier arrested him based on a complaint from one Shahul Hameed, who had borrowed Rs 2 crore from Maharajan and repaid Rs 65 lakh. However, Maharajan had allegedly demanded Rs 3 crore to close the deal.
Similarly, Maharajan had allegedly cheated several people of crores of rupees by acting as a middle man and had been facing several cases in his hometown Coimbatore and in Kochi.
After police registered a number of cases against him, he went underground for some time and later landed in Chennai to lead a normal life as there were no cases against him in the city.
In July, Kochi police arrested him in Sriperumbudur. However, a 30-member gang had intercepted the police vehicles in Coimbatore and rescued him.