Manjummel Boys, released in February 2024, has been a massive box office success, grossing over Rs 200 crore. However, the alleged financial fraud controversy casts a shadow over its triumph. The Ernakulam Sub Court’s decision to freeze the bank accounts extended to those associated with Parava Films and its partners involved in the production of the movie. In April this year, a lower court in Kerala, responding to a plea by Aroor resident Siraj Valiyathara Hameed, ordered the freezing of the bank accounts belonging to the producers of Manjummel Boys. Siraj alleged that he had invested Rs 7 crore in the film but had not received any returns or profits. Consequently, the court directed that the accounts of producers Soubin Shahir, Babu Shahi and Shawn Antony be frozen and served them with notices. Manjummel Boys Hits Rs 200 Crore Worldwide; Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi-Starrer Becomes First Malayalam Film to Achieve the Milestone.

The controversy surrounding Manjummel Boys began with disputes over profit sharing, which triggered an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). This resulted in the filing of an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against the producers of this blockbuster Malayalam film. Notices were issued to Soubin Shahir, Babu Shahir and Shawn Antony, summoning them for questioning. As a part of the investigation, both Soubin and Shawn were interrogated by the ED.

The Box Office Record Created By Manjummel Boys

In response to allegations of cheating and forgery, the Marad police summoned the producers of Manjummel Boys for questioning. An FIR was filed against Soubin Shahir, Babu Shahir and Shawn Antony. On May 17, 2024, the Kerala High Court temporarily stayed the case for a month after defendant Babu filed a petition to dismiss the criminal charges against him and other partners of production company. The producers of Manjummel Boys are facing charges under the IPC Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery). Manjummel Boys Hits Rs 200 Crore Globally! All Major Box Office Records Chidambaram's Malayalam Film Has Shattered At Ticket Window.

During the hearing of Babu Shahir’s petition to dismiss the case, senior counsel P Vijayabhanu argued that the dispute was civil in nature. He contended that filing a police complaint was an attempt to pressure the petitioners into resolving the civil matter. He cited previous Supreme Court rulings condemning the use of criminal proceedings to settle civil disputes. Additionally, he pointed out that the complainant had already initiated arbitration proceedings.

According to latest reports, the ED has sought legal opinion to freeze the bank accounts of Parava Films (producers) and Gokulam Movies (distributors) amid allegations of money laundering linked to the Manjummel Boys team.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 20, 2024 01:18 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website