On Saturday, India’s financial crime-fighting agency said it searched three properties owned by billionaire Byju Raveendran, the founder and CEO of education platform Byju’s, for alleged violations of the country’s foreign currency regulations.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) stated in a statement that during the search, it confiscated numerous papers and digital data and issued a summons to the founder, who did not appear.
Byju’s is one of India’s biggest startups valued at $22 billion, with top global investors such as General Atlantic, Blackrock and Sequoia Capital investing in it over the years.
The searches under alleged foreign exchange law violations revealed that Think and Learn Private Limited, Byju’s parent firm had received foreign direct investment of nearly 280 billion rupees ($3.43 billion) during the period from 2011 to 2023, ED said.
The platform saw its usage swell during the pandemic, but has since laid off thousands of employees and seen a reduction in its valuation by one of its investors. Blackrock last month cut Byju’s valuation by nearly half to $11.15 billion, according to a filing seen by Reuters.
Byju’s legal spokesperson said the visit by ED officials to one of the company’s offices in Bangalore was related to a routine inquiry under foreign exchange laws.
“We will continue to work closely with the authorities to ensure that they have all the information they need, and we are confident that this matter will be resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner,” the spokesperson said.
The statement issued by the agency said the company also remitted 97.5 billion rupees to various foreign jurisdictions between 2011 and 2023 in the name of overseas direct investments.
ED said Think and Learn had not prepared its financial statements since the financial year 2020-21, nor had its accounts been audited, which was mandatory under norms.
Byju’s spokesperson said the company had provided authorities with all the information they requested.
“We have nothing but the utmost confidence in the integrity of our operations,” the spokesperson added.