The arrest of Keralite Dubai-based businessman C C Thampi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday evening has sent shock waves to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her family members. Thampi, popularly known as Kallu Thampi (Kallu means local liquor in the Malayalam language) in Kerala and Dubai is so close to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra for the past 20 years and is known as their Dubai hospitality man. Thampi is now arrested for his land deals and money trails with Robert Vadra and his another Benami fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
Thampi is controlling a Dubai-based company Sky Light. In 2009, Bhandari’s firm Santech FZE purchased a London asset from a private company, which was acquired by Sky Light. It must be remembered that Robert Vadra and his wife Priyanka also started an Indian company with a similar name – Skylight in 2008. Vadra is alleged to have acquired this London-based asset, and few purported emails between him and Bhandari, regarding the renovation of this flat, are part of the evidence in the case.
The investigators say Thampi met Vadra through an aide of his mother-in-law and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, while the latter reportedly told the Enforcement Directorate that he only met him on board an Emirates flight some years ago. Thampi, during his earlier grilling session with the ED, claimed that Vadra had stayed at the Bryanston Square property in London. Vadra, in his statement made to the agency, denied Thampi’s claim. Sources said around 2010, Vadra had acquired a mansion near Central Park in New York and the funds originated from Thampi.
ED had also issued a FEMA show-cause notice to Thampi for alleged violation of foreign exchange laws to the tune of over Rs.1,000 crores in the purchase of vast tracts of land in Kerala. The firms that are being investigated by the ED, as part of the two FEMA show-cause notices issued against him, include Holiday City Centre Private Limited, Holiday Properties Private Limited, and Holiday Bekal Resorts Private Limited. Thampi will be produced in Court on Tuesday afternoon and ED will seek more time of his custody to interrogate him further.
Who is C C Thampi alias Kallu Thampi?
Thampi (63) became close to Sonia Gandhi’s family in the early 2000s through her controversial private secretary Vincent George, who also hails from Kerala. Thampi’s hospitality in Dubai has been enjoyed by Robert Vadra and Rahul Gandhi for the past 15 years.
Thampi’s story is similar to a Rags-to-Riches story. His official name in government records is Cheruvathoor Chakkutty Thambi and born in a poor Christian family from Thrissur District in Kerala. He landed in Ajman in UAE as a bar attender in the early 80s and engaged in illicit liquor trading and earned the nickname Kallu Thampi. Kallu in the Malayalam language means country-made liquor. Then he entered into the hotel business and liquor wholesale business, and ship channeling and Oil bunkering business. Now he is running a hotel chain called as the Holiday Group and many real estate companies. He also runs an engineering college in Kerala known as Thejas Engineering College. Thampi has a restaurant chain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) known as Nalukettu Group of restaurants. His other companies in Ajman and Sharjah are Holiday Beach Club, Seaview Marine Services, Holiday Arabian Resort, Holiday Rent a Car, Holiday Marine Services, Holiday Duty Free Shop, Uniglobe General Trading and Al Khaleej Tyre Factory. He also runs an advertising company called Ras Al Khaima Media Services.
Thampi entered into the Sonia Gandhi family coterie in early 2000 when most of the Congress MPs from Kerala were enjoying his hospitality in Gulf. Thampi is close with Congress MPs such as Shashi Tharoor, Anto Antony, K V Thomas and other Congress leaders like Ramesh Chennithala and P C Chacko. Apart from Vincent Goerge, Thampi is also close to Sonia Gandhi’s other two secretaries who also hail from Kerala – Madhavan and Vijaya Mohan Pillai. Thampi enjoys big clout in the Sonia household. At one point, his friend Sreenivasan was directly appointed as AICC Secretary by Rahul Gandhi. PGurus in July 2018 published an article on this regard.
It was an open secret that Air India flights from Dubai used to regularly transport Thampi’s baggage to Delhi’s top guys till May 2014. Immigration/ Customs clearance is only for the common man. To quote George Orwell, “All are equal, but some are more equal”. Even the CPI (M) and CPI leaders from Kerala enjoyed Thampi’s hospitality in the Gulf region. It is a known secret that Thampi was the host of former Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan when he visited Dubai in 2009.
 Congress inducts Vadra’s partner Srinivasan as the Gen Sec of Congress – Jun 24, 2018, PGurus.com
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