The Karnataka government on Wednesday appointed Deputy Inspector General BR Ravikanthe Gowda the head of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the IMA Jewels scam. The investigators have been tasked with finding the owner of investment firm I Monetary Advisory, or IMA, who is accused of duping investors of more than Rs 500 crore, The Indian Express reported.
The police have set up special kiosks at a convention centre in Bengaluru’s Shivaji Nagar to register their complaints against IMA Jewels, part of IMA group of companies, whose proprietor Mohammed Mansoor Khan may have fled to the United Arab Emirates, according to The New Indian Express. Hundreds of victims of the alleged fraud perpetrated by the company have filed complaints, Mint reported.
The fraud came to light after hundreds of people gathered outside the investment firm’s offices on Monday, alleging that it had not provided returns on their investments for more than two months. The Bengaluru-based company had been collecting investments for several years assuring returns of over 3% per month.
Even as these investors waited to recover their money, an audio clip addressed to the police commissioner of Bengaluru emerged in which a person believed to be Khan said he would have committed suicide by the time people listen to the recording. He asked the police to return money to the the people by liquidating his properties, and blamed Congress MLA and former minister Roshan Baig for the crisis. The speaker in the audio clip accused Baig of not returning Rs 400 crore taken from the IMA before the Lok Sabha elections.
Baig, however, denied the allegations and said the audio clip was fake. “This is the second time I have been linked to IMA’s finances – on June 1 a message was spread that I would stand guarantee for IMA,” he said. The Congress leader said he suspects his rivals in the party linked him to the alleged fraud.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, posted a photo of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy with Mohammed Mansoor Khan on Tuesday. “Good to know you have known this fraud for a long time,” the saffron party’s state unit tweeted. “Should help you catch him soon. Your job is to catch the fraudster and not cry victim on Twitter, Get your priorities right.”