Six directors of the I Monetary Advisory (IMA), a ‘halal ponzi scheme’, have surrendered to the police in Bengaluru on Tuesday, a day after the company grabbed the headlines. The surrender came a day ahead of the government forming a special investigating team to nab the culprits.
According to Deccan Chronicle, Nasir Hussain, Naveed Ahmed Nattamkar, Nizammuddin Azeemuddin, Afshan Tabassum, Afsar Pasha and Arshad Khan were among those who surrendered. However, Mansoor Khan the Managing Director of the company is absconding.
Since Monday hundreds of IMA’s investors have thronged its offices in central Bengaluru in fear of losing their investments after a WhatsApp audio, purportedly that of IMA’s MD Mansoor Khan threatening suicide had gone viral.
In the audio which was also sent to the City Police Commissioner, Mansoor is heard saying that the Shivajinagar Congress MLA, Roshan Baig (although he did not explicitly raise his name in the clip), had taken Rs 400 crore from him to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
The issue became so big that even the Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy was also forced to react and he directed Home Minister MB Patil to take stock of the situation.
"A Special Investigation Team (SIT) is being set up to inquire into complaints by hundreds of investors that IMA Jewels has stopped returning their deposits and paying hefty interest on them,” Patil told reporters after a meeting with top police officials.
According to The New Indian Express, the team will be handpicked today and will be headed by an officer of ADGP rank. Following that the SIT will issue a request with the Interpol to apply a red corner notice to nab Mansoor who has allegedly fled to Middle East, the report said .
Meanwhile, as earlier reported by TNM, police have booked Mansoor and four other directors for cheating and criminal breach of trust based on more than 7,500 complaints.
With the allegation against Roshan Baig and majority of the victims being Muslim, the Congress also went into a hurdle with MLAs of the Muslim community holding a meeting with the Home Minister.
The IMA issue is one of the biggest ponzi schemes to have surfaced in Bengaluru. It is similar to the Ambidant scheme where Muslims are the majority if not the only victims of these schemes.
The scamsters took advantage of the victim’s religious beliefs. Unlike fixed bank interest rates which a section of Muslims consider to be anti-Islam, these companies sold their plans as a form of partnership business with the promise of high returns of 10-12% within a month. The plan was to lure customers to invest their life savings by staying true to the offer for the first few installments.
IMA was reportedly offering 24-30% interest per annum on their savings, a dozen Muslim leaders met Patil and asked for sealing of the firm's office and seizing gold, jewellery, diamonds and cash in its showroom.
"As most of the investors are ordinary people, including women from all occupations, we are worried about the safety of their savings, which are meant for the education or marriage of their children. The state government should arrest Khan and get their deposits returned with interest," State Food and Civil Supplies Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan told reporters after meeting with Patil.