Bengaluru, Oct 20 (IANS) Two days after the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) filed additional chargesheet against five police officers allegedly involved in multi-crore IMA ponzi scam, Karnataka police suspended three of the five police officers on Monday.
The state government ordered a Joint Departmental Inquiry into the matter.
“E. B. Sridhara, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy. SP), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Economic Offenses Division (EOD), Bengaluru, M. Ramesh, the Inspector of Police, Commercial Street Police Station and P. Gowrishankar, the Sub – Inspector of Police, Commercial Street Police Station, Bengaluru, have been kept under suspension pending departmental inquiry,” the order stated and added that this order was passed on Saturday.
Speaking to IANS, Department of Personnel and Administrative Services (DPAR) source said that the suspension of IAS or IPS officers in such cases (especially when cases are booked by the central agencies like CBI) is generally taken by the Union government but the state government can recommend their suspension.
“It is a lengthy procedure to suspend, as they come under central rules. That could be one of the reasons for not issuing suspension orders against then IGP Hemanth Nimbalkar and Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Hilori along with these three officers who are state government employees,” the source explained.
The I-Monetary Advisory or IMA ran into trouble after several complaints emerged of the ponzi scheme cheating people of their hard-earned money while they were assured hefty returns.
After Karnataka CID police initially began the probe into the matter, the CBI was then handed over the case.
It was only last month that the CBI was accorded sanction by the Karnataka govt to prosecute all the officers involved. Two IPS officers Hemanth Nimbalkar, Ajay Hilori along with the then Dy. SP of CID, Sridhar, an inspector Ramesh and Gowrishankar, sub-inspector were accused by the CBI in its FIR.
The IMA ponzi scam involves unauthorised deposits allegedly collected from a large number of depositors to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore, and the illegal activities of the IMA company had continued unabated and several thousands of investors had lost crore of rupees.
The CBI had registered four cases in connection with the said scam. CBI had earlier filed several charge sheets in the scam.
It may even be worth noting that the IMA company first came to the attention of authorities in 2015 because of the large discounts that IMA Jewels was giving on purchases of gold in its stores, but nothing was done because of a legal loophole and inaction by investors.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suspected the company of being a ponzi scheme and tipped off the Revenue Department. However, the latter was unable to take action for two reasons: first, the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act (PIDFE) only allowed action to protect depositors, and an Islamic banking company is structured so that people paying money to it are legally partners in the business and not investors making deposits, and second, no-one actually complained whilst the company was still paying them.
The I-Monetary Advisory was a company co-founded in 2006 by Mohammad Mansoor Khan and a business partner by the name of Iliyas, which they gave the name Iliyas-Mansoor Advisory.
Though this company was not successful, and was dissolved in 2008. Mansoor Khan’s next company kept the same IMA initials.
Mansoor Khan encouraged ulemas and other people with influence in the Muslim community to believe that it was a continuation of the same company founded in 2006 and was a successful business of several years’ standing, promising them that the company would build hospitals and schools.
Under the umbrella of the IMA Group, it quickly diversified into other businesses, including jewellery with the name IMA Jewels aka IMA Jewellers, real estate IMA Builders and Developers founded in 2017, bullion trading IMA Bullion and Trading founded in 2014, IMA Bullion in 2015, and IMA Gold, groceries Mulberry Greens, pharmacy Frontline Pharma, hospitals Frontline Multispeciality Hospital, and publishing.