VA Shrikumar Menon, the Malayalam filmmaker who was arrested in a cheating case by the Alappuzha South Police on Thursday, was released after the case was settled in court on Friday.
The complaint filed by MK Rajendran Pilla of Sreevalsam Business Group alleged that Menon had failed to repay Rs 7 crore that he had borrowed from the firm in 2016 to produce a film. Menon was arrested from his residence in Palakkad after the court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. He was booked under Sections 420 and 406 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property and criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to a report by The New Indian Express, “The company invested money to produce a film on Shrikumar’s assurance that the money will be returned in two years. He also pledged documents for the money but could not keep his word as his debut film Odiyan failed to generate the expected revenue,” S Sanal, circle inspector, said.
After his release, Menon posted a video on his social media page stating that the news about his arrest and subsequent judicial custody are false. He said that like many other businesses his advertisement and branding firm also runs on deposits and loans taken from banks, institutions and individuals and that the advertisement and branding is one of the worst affected businesses by Covid-19. “The pace at which my business grew has fallen significantly and suddenly one of my lenders wanted me to repay the money before the stipulated time which I was unable to do under the current circumstances. This has resulted in a legal battle between me and him,” he said adding that he couldn’t appear in front of the court when the case was taken up earlier and following which a warrant was issued against him.
Menon also said that he appeared before the Alleppy inspector and had an agreement with his lender. Menon said that the lender had restructured his loan and withdrew the case in front of the Alleppy district court’s Chief Judicial of Magistrate after understanding his situation. “The case was formally dismissed. As part of the settlement, I was set completely free. I returned home the same day evening,” he said adding that the news about his arrest that is being spread in the national media is baseless and false.
Menon, who has worked on almost 400 commercials, made his directorial debut with Odiyan (2018) starring Mohanlal, Manju Warrier and Prakash Raj in pivotal roles. He rose to fame after directing advertisements for Manappuram Finance and Kalyan Jewellers. He created advertisements with Amitabh Bachchan, Mohanlal, Mammootty, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Odiyan, a mega-budget period drama did not fare well at the box office. Menon had alleged that a gang was behind the online attacks against him and the box-office debacle of the film. He had said that he was being targeted for standing by Manju.
In 2019, Manju had filed a complaint against Menon for defamation and threat. In her complaint, she alleged that Menon and former journalist Samuel were behind the online attacks against her after the release of Odiyan. She mentioned in her complaint that the duo was threatening and defaming her, and misusing signed blank cheques of her charity foundation.