BENGALURU: Sleuths of Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the multi-crore IMA Jewels fraud claim that the company’s managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan had invested crores of rupees in cryptocurrency and was also involved in hawala operations.“We have found proof that he indulged in hawala and laundered crores of rupees and he has also invested in bitcoins,” said an officer.
Bitcoin is a digital currency traded entirely in electronic mode. The officer said the team is working with a few bitcoin experts in the city to understand the investments and is also trying to establish Khan’s links with hawala operators in the city. Khan’s third wife who is cooperating with the investigation has reportedly given the officers a laptop in which Khan stored crucial information. “It is from there that his investments in bitcoins were revealed,” the SIT officer said.
The investigators claim that the IMA had given several ‘gifts’ to many people. After a search at Khan’s shop and his ex-wives’ homes on Tuesday, the team also found a few important documents on the financial transactions made between a friend of a political leader’s brother and IMA. “A luxurious car has been gifted by the IMA to one Lokesh who happens to be a Congress leader’s brother’s friend. We are trying to establish the connection IMA had with that person. We will soon call him for investigation,” the officer said.
While complaints related to the scam in the city has slowed down, they continued to pour in from other states, taking the total number close to 39,000 as on Wednesday. However, the money trail of Khan is leading the investigators to transactions between some ‘influential’ people, claim the officers.
Most of the investment bonds given by complainants show them as “partners” and not depositors which apparently makes it easy for Khan to escape from the clutches of the law, say legal experts. According to the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act, 2006, partners of a firm are not considered “depositors.” In the case of IMA, every investor was termed a “partner” as per the original bonds.
The investigating officers also found proof to establish that Khan had started to make plans to escape in November 2018. This was the time when a section of investors had stopped getting their monthly dividends and the company had come under the RBI scanner. The Revenue Department had decided to probe the matter and also issued a public notice regarding IMA’s fraudulent activities. Around the same time, Ambidant Marketing, a similar halal investment company was in the soup and IMA’s name figured again. This threatened Khan who started making plans to escape, said the officer.