IMA jewellery scam not the first case of investors being cheated: Police

Many firms cash in on the factor that Muslims believe that usury is haram in Islam

Published: 11th June 2019 06:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2019 02:55 PM   |  A+A-

Hundreds protest outside IMA Jewellers at Shivajinagar on Monday | Pandarinath B

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Thousands might be left confused, scared and angry after losing their hard-earned investments in IMA jewellery scam but city police say that it is not a new scam. Several companies have pulled the same stunt earlier, leading to people losing crores of rupees, police said terming the practise ‘Halal investments’ as most investors are from the Muslim community.

“These companies cash in on the factor that Muslims are taught that ‘riba’ or usury is haram (prohibited) in Islam. While many believe in investments, some fall trap to these kinds,” a police officer said. The method used by these companies, IMA, in particular, is to allow people to deposit funds, upwards of Rs. 50,000 till an unlimited amount with them. After 45 days of investing the principal amount, the investor starts getting returns on the first day of each month, ranging between 2 and 4 per cent, depending on the money invested.

If the investor wants to withdraw his principal amount, he is free to do it and his account is closed. Otherwise, the investor will keep getting returns until the company is running. The company uses the funds to trade in bullion.“In IMA too the investor could choose from many options including gold, where the returns would be monthly, clothing where it would be yearly or constructions where the returns would be biannually,” explained a senior officer.

Other companies which have indulged in the same practises earlier include the Burraqh Groups, according to a victim. “It promised us hefty monthly fixed returns. In 2018 the company suddenly shut shop. The police didn’t do anything,” Nayaz Shariff (name changed) said.

Also in police records are companies like Capital Plus and Capital Infrastructure, a firm promising similar high returns on investment which duped over 200 investors of over Rs. 300 crore in 2018; another is Morgenall, a ‘halal’ investment company whose owners are still absconding.  

In 2018, there were a series of complaints filed by depositors against IMA but there was no action taken. Sources pointed at the involvement of several senior police officials at the time. “Few of them who were smart withdrew from him and those were spared of this rude shock,” said an investor.

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