Govt orders SIT probe into cheating by IMA group

People gather in front of IMA Jewels at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru on Tuesday. DH Photo by Janardhan B K

The government has ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the alleged cheating of hundreds of investors by IMA Group, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday, even as a similar scam surfaced on Tuesday.

"The government has taken the case seriously. I have spoken to Home Minister M B Patil and have directed him to take appropriate steps to provide justice to the aggrieved people and punish the guilty," Kumaraswamy tweeted.

Thousands of investors gathered in front of IMA Jewels in Bengaluru on Monday after its founder and managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan allegedly released an audio clip claiming he was committing suicide.

Earlier, a delegation of Muslim leaders of the Congress, including Minorities Welfare Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan, met the chief minister and urged him to order a SIT probe.

Khan said, “Whoever is involved, including politicians, should be punished. A local politician has been named in an audio clip. A detailed probe will reveal the truth.”

Meanwhile, a day after IMA fraud case surfaced, yet another scam came to light on Tuesday as a large number of investors protested in front of the office of AIMMS, a finance firm in Jayanagar 9th Block, demanding their money back.

AIMMS Ventures was started by five businessmen Ayub, Ilyas, Mudasir, Mujahid and Shaid in 2017. Soon after the IMA fraud came to light, the company emptied all its desks and vacated the office on Monday night.

More than 1,600 people, mostly from the Muslim community, had invested from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 50 lakh after the company promised them returns of Rs 10,000 a month for an investiment of Rs 1 lakh.

The company initially gave the promised returns, encouraging investors to put in more momey. But from mid-2018, they stopped giving payments. Later, investors complained to the police on December 9, 2018 and the case was later transferred to CCB Organised Crime Wing (OCW).

An OCW inspector and constable were suspended after it was found that they allegedly demanded Rs 1 crore bribe from the suspects.

The police had arrested business partners Pasha Mohammed Mudasissir, Ayub, Ilyas Mujahid and Shahid Mohammed but they were later released on bail.

Mohammed Hussain, an investor, said that soon after the company opened in 2017, he had invested Rs 2 lakh and he earned a profit of Rs 80,000 for four months. The company then said it would invest in real estate, a call centre and a pharmacy. He pledged his mother’s gold and invested Rs 6 lakh and again another Rs 4 lakh. But the company stopped giving the returns from December 2018. The suspects had promised to return the money after they were released on bail.

However, on Monday night, they vacated the office and fled.

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