IMA scam: SIT arrests assistant commissioner, VA

In a major breakthrough, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the I Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam arrested L C Nagaraj, Assistant Commissioner, North and Manjunath, a village accountant on Friday.

The two are the first government officials to be arrested in connection with the multi-crore scam which resulted in losses to more than 30,000 investors.

Nagaraj is accused of concealing the irregularities committed by IMA promoters for alleged payment of Rs 4.5 crore as bribe after he was appointed as the 'Competent Authority' by the state government to probe the firm. He was appointed by the state government following alerts issued by the RBI regarding IMA's transactions and schemes offered to customers.

According to SIT, Nagaraj did not probe the case properly and hid the facts of the case to help Mohammed Mansoor Khan, MD of IMA and the kingpin of the multi-crore ponzi scheme. Nagaraj was arrested from the High Court canteen by officials and his house was also searched by SIT. Meanwhile, Manjunath was produced before the court and was remanded in police custody for nine days.

Nagaraj, according to sources, had accepted the bribe from Mansoor in three instalments — two instalments of Rs 2 cr each and one of Rs 50 lakh — with Manjunath serving as a conduit to transfer the bribe.

Nagaraj was appointed as the Competent to probe any irregularities in IMA and other financial institutes on June 2018 following the Ambidant scam. He had issued a public notice in Kannada, Urdu and English newspapers seeking information from the IMA investors regarding any irregularities by the company. Stating that there weren't any complainants, he had subsequently filed a report in February 2019, allegedly absolving Mansoor Khan.

Recently, Nagaraj had alleged that he was being threatened by unknown individuals from Bengaluru and Dubai after the scam came out in the open. It can be noted that in a recent video by the absconding Mansoor from his hideout, he had levelled allegations against several state and Central government officials of being involved in a ploy to plunge IMA into losses.

The SIT, which continued its raids on properties owned by IMA group, searched two frontline pharma outlets at Jayanagar and one each at Shanthinagar and BTM Layout. Electronic goods and pharmaceuticals worth Rs 1.2 cr were seized during the search operation.

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