Govt forms SIT to probe alleged Ponzi scheme fraud

Team Udayavani, Jun 12, 2019, 6:15 PM IST

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Bengaluru: An 11-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed by the Karnataka government to probe the alleged financial fraud perpetrated by an investment firm here, leaving thousands of investors in the lurch.

The owner of the city-based IMA Jewellers, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, disappeared two days ago, after allegedly threatening to commit suicide.

The police have formed teams to trace him.

Most of the investors in Khan’s firm are Muslims.

Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy tweeted on Wednesday, saying the SIT would be headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police B R Ravikanthe Gowda.

The other members of the team are Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) S Girish, Additional Commissioner of Police of the Central Crime Branch Balaraju and deputy commissioners of police K Ravishankar, Raja Imam Kasim and Abdul Khadar.

The SIT will have five police inspectors too.

The police have registered a case against IMA Jewellers and Khan.

The investors camped at IMA Jewellers’ office at Shivajinagar here for the third consecutive day, waiting for some progress in the case and to build pressure on the police and the government to get their money back.

Meanwhile, senior Congress MLA from Shivajinagar and former state minister R Roshan Baig charged that his political adversaries had orchestrated the “series of events” to tarnish his character.

His accusation was based on an audio clip purportedly containing the voice of Khan, in which he alleged that he had paid Rs 400 crore to Baig, which he did not return.

The audio clip has gone viral on the social media.

Rubbishing the charge, Baig tweeted: “After my recent political fallouts, some of my adversaries have made a full-fledged attempt at assassinating my character by orchestrating a series of events using underhand methods. The entire hit job has been carried out using a baseless, un-investigated audio recording.”

Baig, who aspires for a ministerial position, had recently rebelled against his party and held former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao responsible for the party’s poor show in the Lok Sabha election.

The Congress MLA urged the government to get the matter investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

He suspected the involvement of a Congress leader, who, he alleged, was sending people to mingle with the crowd gathered outside IMA Jewellers’ office.

“I was informed that a good chunk of people seen at the protests outside IMA Jewels was mobilised to mix with the people who were actually aggrieved to intensify the situation by a politician who has been trying very hard to become the ‘face of the community’,” Baig tweeted.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too demanded a CBI inquiry.

“Is the government not able to see the sufferings of the investors? Doesn’t it have eyes, ears and a heart? It should get the accused arrested if it has the guts or else, it should hand over the matter to the CBI,” BJP MLA Eshwarappa said.

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