Byju’s CEO Faces Legal Turmoil: Potential Arrest Looms as Key Meeting Approaches

From Dubai to Legal Battles: The Saga of Baiju Ravindran and Byju's Unfolds

Bengaluru: Baiju Ravindran, founder and CEO of the edtech firm Byju’s, finds himself embroiled in Byju’s app controversy. Ravindran’s potential return from Dubai to India has surfaced amidst an Enforcement Directorate (ED) notice barring his travel abroad. Ravindran, hailing from Kannur, Kerala, swiftly ascended into the billionaire ranks. However, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed Byju’s facing a downturn.

ED Scrutiny and Allegations

ED’s involvement intensified following a favorable verdict in a case initiated by shareholders seeking to oust the company’s CEO. Allegations of irregularities under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) surfaced against Ravindran, prompting ED’s scrutiny. Ravindran assured shareholders of management reform and greater transparency through a letter in response. Despite his efforts to address company issues constructively, the ED’s latest actions cast a shadow of potential arrest over Ravindran.

Central to Ravindran’s pledge for reform is restructuring the company’s board to increase shareholder representation. Ravindran disclosed in a letter to shareholders that Byju’s parent company, Think and Learn, had fully subscribed to the rights issue. However, before ED’s intervention, Ravindran had relocated to Dubai, seemingly unhindered by travel restrictions. His return to India remains uncertain, compounded by ED’s recent issuance of a lookout notice.

Absenteeism and Meeting Disputes:

Ravindran’s absence extends to the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at Byju’s scheduled meeting today, which will convene online. Investors initiated the meeting, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with its 30% stake in Byju’s parent company. Among the agenda items is a motion to remove Ravindran from his position as Group CEO via a vote.

Ravindran’s brother, Riju Ravindran, and wife, Divya Gokul Nath, also face removal from their respective positions. An interim CEO will be appointed until a permanent replacement is found, with a new board slated for appointment within thirty days after the EGM. Despite a temporary court order stipulating a hold on implementing EGM decisions until a final verdict, the legality of the meeting itself remains unimpeded, as clarified by the Karnataka High Court.

Byju’s Contention and Allegations

On the contrary, Byju contends the EGM is illegitimate, citing the absence of board members, including Ravindran. They argue decisions made therein hold no legal validity under the Companies Act (2013). Byju further asserts that the EGM merely serves as a facade, orchestrated to disrupt company operations.

Amid regulatory scrutiny and internal upheaval, Baiju Ravindran’s future remains uncertain at the helm of Byju’s to be determined. As the saga unfolds, stakeholders must navigate a landscape fraught with legal complexities and corporate intrigue.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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