KARNATAKA CHIEF Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday directed the state police to launch an investigation to find the owner of an investment firm accused of duping investors of more than Rs 500 crore — even as the case threatens to engulf politicians in the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition, including a senior Congress MLA who lashed out at the party after the Lok Sabha polls.
The cheating case involving the proprietor of IMA Jewels and other companies — Mohammed Mansoor Khan — emerged after hundreds of people gathered outside offices of IMA (I Monetary Advisory) after Ramzan, accusing it of not providing returns on their investments for over two months. Even as anxious people gathered to recover funds on Monday, an audio clip addressed to the Bangalore Police Commissioner emerged in which Khan purportedly warns of his death and ask the police to return the funds of investors by liquidating his properties.
In the audio clip, Khan purpurtedly claims that he was unable to return the funds collected from people because of harassment allegedly by local leaders, including former minister and MLA of the Shivajinagar region Roshan Baig.
“Considering the seriousness of the IMA Jewels fraud the inquiry has been handed over to a Special Investigation Team and instructions regarding this have been given to the DGP,” Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday after meeting a delegation of Congress Muslim leaders.
The audio clip linked to Khan alleged that Baig had taken Rs 400 crore from IMA ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and had not returned the amount. The Shivajinagar MLA of the Congress party has denied the allegations and called the audio clip 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,” said Baig, who suspects involvement of Congress rivals in linking him to the fraud.
“It has come to my notice that some fake content on my name is being circulated with regard to ongoing issues of the IMA group of companies. I categorically state that I am neither a stakeholder/partner of this company in any form,” he said in an official statement.
Following the emergence of the IMA Jewels issue over the last two days, Congress sources said that all prospects of Baig being given a position in the state cabinet in an expansion this weekend is ruled out.
Among the Congress Muslim leaders who met Kumaraswamy seeking an SIT probe into the IMA Jewels case on Tuesday were minister Zameer Ahmed Khan and Rizwan Arshad who lost the Lok Sabha polls from the Bengaluru central region. Following the polls, Arshad had complained to the Congress about Baig not supporting his candidature.
“We want a thorough investigation into the issue. Anybody who is involved should be brought to book — irrespective of how big a politician he is. If necessary, a CBI probe should be conducted. The probe must investigate all who have taken funds from IMA,” Zameer Ahmed said on Tuesday.