More questions are being raised about the Central Crime Branch's (CCB) credibility to investigate the Ambidant scam and other Ponzi schemes in the city.
Stepping up the attack on the CCB, an NGO has demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe all the scams.
This comes days after the CCB launched another investigation into a "conspiracy to malign its image" and arrested three people, including a former journalist, in this connection. The CCB arrested two people, Zaid Khan and Sirajuddin, on December 13, a day after they conducted a media conference at the Press Club of Bangalore and accused it of being hand in glove with Ambidant owners and demanded a CBI investigation in the case.
The CCB accused both Zaid and Sirajuddin of trying to malign its image and obstructing the police from discharging their duties. On December 16, the CCB arrested Ashoka Mysore, a former journalist, for being part of the conspiracy and drafting the press note released by Zaid and Sirajuddin.
At a press conference on Monday, Ravikrishna Reddy, AAP leader and the president of the NGO Lancha Mukta Karnataka Nirmana Vedike, released an explosive letter, purportedly written by Venkatesh Prasanna, the previous investigating officer in the Ambidant case, to the state police chief, Neelmani Raju.
Prasanna claimed in the letter that several politicians and police officers had taken money from Syed Ahmed Fareed, the chairman and managing director of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd. The firm is accused of cheating investors to the tune of hundreds of crores by running a Ponzi scheme.
The letter claims that Vijay Tata, a realtor who also owns a Kannada TV channel, took Rs 36 crore from Fareed for not continuing a negative broadcast about the firm. Fareed paid the money by way of buying 83 flats in an apartment complex built by Sanchaya Land and Estate Pvt Ltd, also owned by Tata. Tata also took Rs 25 crore from Injaz International, another Ponzi company.
Prasanna said he was immediately transferred when he tried to arrest Tata. He was shunted out of the CCB on November 20, a day after Tata accused him of demanding a bribe to let him go in the Ponzi cases. Prasanna claims he was transferred for "doing his job".
His letter states: "During the interrogation, Fareed has confessed that he had paid money to ministers and MLAs, both present and former, and police officers of all ranks. I have complete information about all these transactions."
Speaking to reporters, Reddy said the CCB was "hand in glove" with the fraudsters and had nothing but searching various premises linked to Tata on December 13. The CCB is yet to recover the investors' money.
HC relief to Vijay Tata
The High Court of Karnataka has stayed for eight weeks the investigation against Vijay Tata, a realtor-cum-media baron.
The CCB had filed a case against him and two others at the Vidhana Soudha police station for "obstructing" the investigation into the Ambidant case.
Separately, Tata has moved a lower court for anticipatory bail in the case. His application will be heard by the principal city civil and sessions court (CCH-1).