IMA Ponzi scam: Accused kingpin Mansoor Khan brought back
The Karnataka Police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the IMA Group’s alleged Ponzi scam brought back the Group’s founder, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, from Dubai to New Delhi in the early hours of Friday
Khan is accused of perpetrating a scam worth more than Rs 1,500 crore on over 40,000 investors through his company’s Ponzi investment scheme. Before escaping, he had accused Congress MLA Roshan Baig, among others, of allegedly triggering the company’s fall by failing to return money.
“A team of SIT officers located Mohammed Mansoor Khan, the founder of IMA and accused no. 1 (in the case)…in Dubai through sources and persuaded him to come back to India,’’ the SIT said.
Khan, who recently released a video stating he will return, landed at Delhi’s IGI Airport at 1.50 am, the SIT stated. SIT officers are in Delhi at present to “secure and arrest’’ Khan, it stated.
Khan was detained in Dubai based on a look-out circular issued by the SIT and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has registered a money laundering case against him. SIT officials said Khan is currently in joint custody.
The IMA Group floated a Ponzi scheme, offering investors dream returns to the tune of 36 to 64 per cent on investments, in line with Sharia principles of Islam. It attracted thousands of investors, mostly Muslims.
The firm, which claimed to be investing in gold bullion trading, real estate, healthcare and other businesses, also attracted political patrons. Around October last year, the firm began defaulting on payment of returns, creating gradual panic among investors. This panic peaked after Khan fled the country on June 8. Before his escape, Khan sent an audio message to Bengaluru Police accusing several politicians and officials, including Roshan Baig, Congress MLA from Shivajinagar in Bengaluru, for the fall of his firm. Khan alleged Baig borrowed Rs 400 crore and failed to return it.
On Friday, Baig, who is among 16 MLAs of Karnataka’s ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition to have recently resigned and sent the
H D Kumaraswamy government into a crisis, appeared before the SIT for questioning. The SIT had detained Baig at Bengaluru airport on July 15 and questioned him for hours. While Baig claimed he was headed for Pune, CM Kumaraswamy alleged that he was trying join other rebels in Mumbai.
“Mr Roshan Baig appeared before SIT and submitted relevant records for perusal. SIT will go through the records. If further questioning is required he will be called again,’’ the SIT stated.
Baig was said to have been close to Khan and the IMA Group — the company funded a government school in his constituency under a public-private partnership. Baig is also reported to have aided Khan in getting around restrictions placed by officials on IMA Group’s functioning last year.
As part of its probe, the SIT has so far arrested B M Vijayshankar, who was Bengaluru Urban district deputy commissioner, and L C Nagaraj, an assistant commissioner for revenue, for allegedly accepting bribes to provide positive reports to the government.