SIT team to be handpicked today

IMA SCAM: ED to check if funds were illegally diverted; might book case against promoter Mansoor Khan

Published: 12th June 2019 06:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2019 06:24 AM   |  A+A-

A woman investor protests outside the Police Commissioner’s office in the city on Tuesday;

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  The Karnataka government will constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the I Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam. At a closed-door meeting on Tuesday with senior IPS officers, including City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar, Home Minister MB Patil decided to constitute an SIT headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) to investigate the alleged “mother of all investment/Ponzi scams” in the recent history of Karnataka. Insider sources say the home minister was clear that SIT should have independent charge and officers should be drawn from various police units, including the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). 

The SIT will be headed either by ADGP, Internal Security Division (ISD) CH Pratap Reddy or ADGP, Crime & Criminal Network Tracking & Systems (CCTNS) Mohammed Saleem.The team is likely to be constituted on Wednesday and officers will be handpicked by the head of the investigating unit.

An elderly woman is among the thousands of
protestors who gathered at a convention hall
in Shivajinagar | Pandarinath B, Vinod Kumar T

Once appointed, the investigation officer (IO) will send a formal request to Interpol through the CID, the nodal agency for state-related Interpol requests to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against absconding IMA managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan, who is said to have fled to Dubai on June 8 from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.  “The audio clip in which Mansoor has claimed that he would commit suicide has been identified as his voice by people who know him. The audio clip will be sent for forensic examination by the SIT,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.  

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also examining the IMA scam and may book a case against Mansoor Khan and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) if it is found that they had wrongfully diverted depositors’ money for illegal purposes.The ED will book cases against all those who have apparently siphoned off the money and used it for illegal purposes, under the Money Laundering Act,” said an officer who wished to remain anonymous.  

In a span of six months, IMA emerged as the second ‘halal’ investment company in Bengaluru, after Ambidant Marketing Company Private Limited, which duped thousands of gullible depositors, all Muslims, in the name of “safe” investments. According to insider sources, the volume of the IMA scam is yet to be ascertained.

ANOTHER AUDIO, BUT A FAKE
A fake audio released by an unknown source made its appearance. In the audio, a man claiming to be Mansoor says he is in Bengaluru and investors’ money will be returned on June 15. “I have not fled the country. I am here in Bengaluru and I will return all your money, starting from this month 15th. I will begin with lesser amount and then go to middle level and then higher amounts. I will make sure all get money,” (sic) the audio says. However, a senior police officer confirmed that this audio was a fake one. “We met Mansoor and heard him too. It’s his voice in the first audio, not the second one,” an investor said.

WHO IS MANSOOR KHAN?
IMA Jewels was launched in 2016, with Mohammed Mansoor Khan as its promoter and MD. He launched another outlet of the jewellery store in Jayanagar in 2018.​​ Besides jewellery, Khan also promoted a bullion trading company, supermarkets and was planning a mall on Nandidurg Road. Khan is a graduate of Bangalore University and went to the Measi Institute of Management.

WARNINGS ISSUED  
The central revenue and intelligence agencies, in the past two years during the periodic multi-departmental meetings, had brought it to the notice of the RBI and police that IMA, like Ambidant, was not following RBI guidelines and may sink with the investors’ deposits soon. “There are many blade companies that have duped thousands of investors, but no efforts have been made to check their proliferation,” said the officer.

women investors fight it out
Thousands of women who had invested in IMA slept on footpaths in Shivajinagar on Monday night. Some of them slept in autorickshaws and cabs. One of them even collapsed on Tuesday when she was waiting to get her Rs 2 lakh, which she needed for her daughter’s wedding. Some of them had sold their jewellery to invest while a few had withdrawn fixed deposits from banks.

Spl team to head to UAE
Five special teams have been formed to search for four of the directors of IMA Jewels groups. The team including CCB sleuths will go to the UAE to nab Mansoor Khan. A senior police officer said all the directors and staff of IMA group have been absconding since Monday. Meanwhile, bank accounts have been seized and police found transactions worth Rs 17 crore had been done by Khan before he left the city. Angry investors tried to barge into houses of Khan as well as his relatives on Monday night.

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