HDK orders SIT probe into investment fraud ‘involving’ Cong leader

Tight police security outside the IMA office at Lady Curzon Road, Shivaji Nagar, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday (June 11) ordered a special investigation into the investment scam of I Monetary Advisor (IMA) Jewels in Bengaluru in which Shivajinagar Congress MLA Roshan Baig is allegedly involved.

An audio clip from the IMA founder, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, indicating his intent to commit suicide, emerged on Monday (June 10). After failing to recover ₹400 crore (given as bribe and loan to politicians) from Roshan Baig and some more money from the government officials, the founder decided to commit suicide.

The audio clip sent worrying signals to thousands of investors who had invested in various schemes of the IMA Jewels.

In the purported audio clip, Mohammed Mansoor Khan says, while he worked hard for 12-13 years to build the company, corruption in the state dragged his company down. He alleged that Roshan Baig took money before the elections hoping he would get a Lok Sabha ticket and that he failed to return it despite not getting to contest.

“Due to corruption in the Central government and the state government, I kept bribing the bureaucrats and Muslim politicians. The PMO and the RBI were misinformed,” Khan alleges.

Addressing the Bengaluru Police Commissioner, Mansoor says, he has assets (properties and jewels) worth ₹500 crore and instructed the police to take possession of the land and sell it to return money to investors.

Thousands of panicked investors besieged the office of I Monetary Advisory (IMA) Jewels, near Shivajinagar. While the police registered a case and received complaints from investors, they suspect the founder is absconding.

The issue snowballed into a political controversy after the state BJP unit tweeted a photo of the Chief Minister dining with Khan. However, the Chief Minister’s office said, “Considering the seriousness of the #IMAJewels fraud, the probe has been handed over to a special investigation team and instructions regarding this have been given to the DGP,” in a tweet.

BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje urged the government to order a CBI and Enforcement Directorate inquiry and arrest people behind the scam. “Though the company was found guilty in 2018 for a similar incident, the state government took no action. Karnataka has become a hub for fraudsters and anti-social elements,” Karandlaje said.

Meanwhile, Baig, who made headlines recently, airing his displeasure against the state Congress leadership, denied his involvement in the case.