IMA Jewels: SIT arrests 7 directors in multi-crore ponzi scam

Bengaluru: Seven directors of the city-based IMA Jewels were arrested and are being grilled by the Special Investigation Team to know their alleged role in the multi-crore ponzi scam operated by its owner Mohammed Mansoor Khan, police said on Thursday.

“On being warned against delaying the inevitable, the directors turned up at the city police commissioner’s office and surrendered on Wednesday. They were arrested and produced in a local court for our custody to interrogate them as Khan is still at large,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (central) Rahul Kumar told reporters.

The accused directors — Anwar Pasha, Arshad Khan, Dada Peer, Naveed Ahmed, Nazir Hussain, Nizamuddin, and Waseem — were remanded in 10-days police custody to unearth the scam, which swindled the hard-earned savings of thousands of investors from across the state.

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“As the case is being investigated by the SIT, its head B.R. Ravikanth Gowda is interrogating the accused on what went wrong leading to the IMA (I Monetary Advisory) go bust and Khan fleeing the country last week,” said Kumar.

IMA’s chartered account Iqbal Khan was also arrested on early Thursday after the directors disclosed his name and his alleged role in the scam that has rocked the state.

It is alleged that IMA Jewels, with lower and middle-class Muslims as its prime investors in its Ponzi schemes, has not paid interests on investments for the last three months.

Though the police launched a massive hunt for Khan, he is reported to have fled the country after Eid on June 5 along with his family, and a huge quantity of gold ornaments, silver jewelry, diamonds and an unspecified amount of cash from his posh showroom in the city’s center.

“We are on the lookout for Khan and will seek Interpol’s help through the Union home ministry to extradite him to India after ascertaining in which country he is hiding,” said Kumar.

The ponzi scam came to light on June 10 when the IMA showroom did not open for business after a week-long closure for Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of Ramzan last week and its Managing Director (Khan) reportedly fled to Dubai or Saudi Arabia to escape the wrath of his investors as their savings are lost.

The SIT team also raided IMA’s head office and its main showroom and seized volumes of documents related to properties, assets, collaterals pledged by investors and depositors and bank accounts for investigation.

Scores of investors staged protests outside IMA Jewels’ office in Sivaji Nagar, demanding the firm to return their money.

Over 25, 000 investors have filed a complaint with the local police station, enclosing a photocopy of documents, including passbooks showing their investments in the company.

The SIT has directed the banks to freeze the accounts of the company, Khan and his relatives to prevent any transaction.

[source_without_link]IANS inputs[/source_without_link]

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