The CBI on Friday conducted searches at 15 locations in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, including the premises of top officials of Karnataka police in connection with IMA scam.
According to the agency, searches by the CBI officials were conducted at the residences of Hemant Nimbalkar (IPS), the then IG of Economic Offences Wing, EB Sreedhara, then Deputy SP CID Ajay Hilori and five others. Hilori was Deputy Commissioner (East) when IMA was probed in 2018. The main showroom of IMA Jewels was in Shivajinagar which came under the jurisdiction of DCP (East).
The federal probe agency conducted the searches at 11 places in Bengaluru, one in Meerut, one in Mandya, one in Ramnagara and at one place in Belgaum district of Karnataka.
According to the CBI, these officers were tasked with looking into IMA in 2018 after the firm was repeatedly flagged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about unauthorised collections and raising of deposits by the company. However, they did not recommend any action against the group and gave it a clean chit.
According to investigators, these officials are alleged to have received huge bribe amounts on multiple occasions by IMA director Mansoor Khan.
Over one lakh people had invested in IMA, which had floated 17 companies, including jewellery stores infrastructure and real estate development firm, pharmacies, supermarkets etc. The company promoted itself as a ‘Halal’ investment company and attracted a large number of investors from the city’s Muslim community. The company promised investors monthly returns on investments, which it said was ‘Shariah’ compliant.
The scam broke out on June 10, after the group’s Managing Director Mohammed Mansoor Khan, released an audio clip in which he purportedly threatened to commit suicide. In the audio, he had accused former MLA R Roshan Baig of extorting hundreds of crores for him, because of which his company had suffered losses.
Baig had categorically refuted the charge, terming it as “false and frivolous”.
While the investigations were started by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) as ordered by former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, the CBI is currently probing under the orders of current Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.