IMA chief gets bail in money-laundering case

IMA chief gets bail in money-laundering case but won't walk free as yet

Karnataka High Court has granted conditional bail to Mohammed Mansoor Khan, Managing Director of ‘I Monetary Advisory’ (IMA), in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case

Mohammed Mansoor Khan. Credit: DH Photo

Mohammed Mansoor Khan, the alleged kingpin of the multi-crore IMA scam, has got bail in a money-laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). However, he hasn’t yet walked free as his bail petition in the main case is pending before a special CBI court. 

In the money-laundering case, the High Court of Karnataka recently gave him conditional bail considering his “heart ailment and unstable angina coronary artery disease with 100% blockage”. The trial court had refused him bail in the case on August 18, 2020. 

Khan was the managing director of I Monetary Advisory (IMA), a so-called ‘Halal’ investment company that went bust in June 2019 after duping thousands of investors, mostly Muslims. IMA is alleged to have collected Rs 4,000 crore from investors by promising them lucrative returns through bullion trading. 

Khan had fled to Dubai after the scam surfaced but returned to India on July 19, 2019. He was questioned in police custody for about two weeks and has been in prison since August 1, 2019. 

The case was probed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over. The ED is probing a case pertaining to money laundering. 

In the high court, Khan’s counsel stated that police investigation has been completed and sought bail for him, saying he’s been diagnosed with unstable angina coronary artery disease with 100% blockage and spine degenerative spondylosis. The counsel also submitted a letter written by the chief medical officer of the Bengaluru Central Prison to the chief superintendent of the prison in this
regard. 

Madhukar Deshpande, the special prosecutor for the ED, said that though Khan had returned Rs 1,323 crore out of the Rs 4,000 crore that the company collected from investors, he had purchased properties worth about Rs 209 crore from that money. The prosecutor said Khan was likely to alienate the properties, affecting the interests of the investors. In legal parlance, alienation means to transfer the ownership of a property or title to another person. 

Approving the bail petition, Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar noted that though the chief medical officer had stated that Khan’s health was “stable”, it does not mean that he can continue to manage the ailments inside the prison. “Certainly the ailments that he has require constant monitoring; the treatment that he may take outside the jail may be of (a) different standard. It is pertinent to note that the chief medical officer has clearly made an observation about the chronic disease conditions of the petitioner. Therefore, certainly, this aspect can be considered for granting bail.” 

The court directed Khan to furnish a Rs 5 lakh bond and sureties of the like sum to the satisfaction of the trial court. The high court directed Khan not to alienate any of his properties until the conclusion of the trial. In case there is a need to do so, he must disclose to the trial court the purpose of alienating the property and obtain the permission of the trial court. The court said the trial court may impose conditions if it decides to permit
alienation.