18L people lost Rs 5,200 cr to dubious firms

Many fly-by-night operators in Bengaluru lured Muslims with Halal- or Sharia-compliant investment schemes

Women investors arrive in Shivajinagar to file complaints against the IMA Group on Tuesday. DH PHOTO/IRSHAD MAHAMMAD

Nearly 18 lakh people, mostly lower- or middle-class Muslims, lost Rs 5,200 crore to 16 dubious investment firms between 2013 and 2018. Few of them have got their money back. 

Since Islam prohibits all interest-based transactions, many fly-by-night operators in Bengaluru have lured Muslims with Halal, or Sharia-compliant, investment schemes. Some of the companies offered unbelievable, fixed returns much like interest, even though Islam clearly prohibits the latter. These companies claimed to pay dividends—similar to the profits that companies pay their shareholders. 

Companies like Ajmera, Aleef, Aala Ventures, Injaz International, Burraqh, Ambidant and the IMA Group initially promised up to 10% returns a month to attract investors. Once their corpus reached crores, they cut the dividend and finally went bust. 

Ambidant Marketing

Started at DJ Halli in 2016, Ambidant Marketing collected more than Rs 1,000 crore. Mining baron G Janardhana Reddy was arrested for allegedly taking money from the company’s owners Syed Ahmed Fareed and his son Syed Afaq Ahmed to help them escape the Enforcement Directorate scrutiny. Police seized their properties but are yet to pay back the investors.

Ajmera Group

Soon after the Ambidant case, the multi-core Ajmera group fraud case came to light. In January this year, police confiscated just Rs 5.2 crore from bank accounts related to the company, besides seizing documents of properties valued at crores. Around 950 investors have submitted proofs of having invested Rs 26 crore in the company.

Injaz International

Injaz International Builders and Developers Pvt Ltd, located in RT Nagar, lured hundreds of investors by promising to invest in real estate. Police suspect the company cheated investors to the tune of Rs 89 crore. The founder fled the country soon after a complaint was filed against the company. Police are yet to track him down.

Burraqh Group

The Burraqh Group shut down following income tax raids. Its directors are absconding.

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