Two days after the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) filed additional chargesheet against five police officers allegedly involved in multi-crore IMA ponzi scam, Karnataka police suspended three of the five police officers on Monday.
The state government ordered a Joint Departmental Inquiry into the matter.
“E. B. Sridhara, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy. SP), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Economic Offenses Division (EOD), Bengaluru, M. Ramesh, the Inspector of Police, Commercial Street Police Station and P. Gowrishankar, the Sub – Inspector of Police, Commercial Street Police Station, Bengaluru, have been kept under suspension pending departmental inquiry,” the order stated and added that this order was passed on Saturday.
Speaking to IANS, Department of Personnel and Administrative Services (DPAR) source said that the suspension of IAS or IPS officers in such cases (especially when cases are booked by the central agencies like CBI) is generally taken by the Union government but the state government can recommend their suspension.
“It is a lengthy procedure to suspend, as they come under central rules. That could be one of the reasons for not issuing suspension orders against then IGP Hemanth Nimbalkar and Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Hilori along with these three officers who are state government employees,” the source explained.
The I-Monetary Advisory or IMA ran into trouble after several complaints emerged of the ponzi scheme cheating people of their hard-earned money while they were assured hefty returns.
After Karnataka CID police initially began the probe into the matter, the CBI was then handed over the case.
It was only last month that the CBI was accorded sanction by the Karnataka govt to prosecute all the officers involved. Two IPS officers Hemanth Nimbalkar, Ajay Hilori along with the then Dy. SP of CID, Sridhar, an inspector Ramesh and Gowrishankar, sub-inspector were accused by the CBI in its FIR.
The IMA ponzi scam involves unauthorised deposits allegedly collected from a large number of depositors to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore, and the illegal activities of the IMA company had continued unabated and several thousands of investors had lost crore of rupees.
The CBI had registered four cases in connection with the said scam. CBI had earlier filed several charge sheets in the scam.
It may even be worth noting that the IMA company first came to the attention of authorities in 2015 because of the large discounts that IMA Jewels was giving on purchases of gold in its stores, but nothing was done because of a legal loophole and inaction by investors.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suspected the company of being a ponzi scheme and tipped off the Revenue Department. However, the latter was unable to take action for two reasons: first, the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act (PIDFE) only allowed action to protect depositors, and an Islamic banking company is structured so that people paying money to it are legally partners in the business and not investors making deposits, and second, no-one actually complained whilst the company was still paying them.
The I-Monetary Advisory was a company co-founded in 2006 by Mohammad Mansoor Khan and a business partner by the name of Iliyas, which they gave the name Iliyas-Mansoor Advisory.
Though this company was not successful, and was dissolved in 2008. Mansoor Khan’s next company kept the same IMA initials.
Mansoor Khan encouraged ulemas and other people with influence in the Muslim community to believe that it was a continuation of the same company founded in 2006 and was a successful business of several years’ standing, promising them that the company would build hospitals and schools.
Under the umbrella of the IMA Group, it quickly diversified into other businesses, including jewellery with the name IMA Jewels aka IMA Jewellers, real estate IMA Builders and Developers founded in 2017, bullion trading IMA Bullion and Trading founded in 2014, IMA Bullion in 2015, and IMA Gold, groceries Mulberry Greens, pharmacy Frontline Pharma, hospitals Frontline Multispeciality Hospital, and publishing.
Forgery case: Allahabad High Court rejects bail pleas of Azam Khan, son
The Allahabad High Court has denied bail to senior Samajwadi Party leader and MP Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan in two cases relating to alleged cheating and forgery.
The allegations against the applicants were that they had forged PAN to show the wrong date of birth of Abdullah to enable him to contest the UP Assembly elections from the Suar constituency in Rampur in 2017.
Justice Suneet Kumar, who rejected the bail plea on Thursday, asked the trial court to expedite the trial.
He said that the applicants are at a liberty to approach the high court again for bail after the witnesses are examined in the trial.
The court observed, “Having regard to the allegations that the applicants did not cooperate with the investigation and court proceedings, consequently, coercive measures had to be adopted against them.”
“Further, having regard to the position and status of the accused persons, the repetition of the offences, and the deep-rooted and pervasive influence, applicants exercise in the various departments of the state, there is reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, and danger to the course of justice being thwarted. In the circumstances, grant of bail at this stage would not be in public interest,” the court added.
It may be recalled that FIRs were lodged against the Azam Khan and Abdullah Azam in 2019 alleging that on January 24, 2017, Abdullah had filed nomination papers for contesting from Suar Assembly constituency.
In the nomination papers, Abdullah Azam’s date of birth was wrongly mentioned as September 30, 1990, to make him eligible for contesting elections, and in support of it, a forged PAN card was also obtained with the help of Azam Khan.
Azam Khan, his son Abdullah Azam and wife Tanzeen Fatima are lodged in Sitapur jail since February this year.
Voice of dissent can’t be muzzled indefinitely, says Punjab CM
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday once again reiterated that voices of the protesting farmers “cannot be muzzled indefinitely” and the “Centre should initiate talks”.
“The voice of farmers cannot be muzzled indefinitely. Centre should immediately initiate talks with Kisan Union leaders to defuse the tense situation at the Delhi borders.
“Why wait till December 3 when the situation is getting out of hand now?” a tweet by Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral quoting Amarinder Singh said.
In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister said the central government “needs to show statesmanship and accept the farmers’ demand for assured MSP (minimum support price), which is the basic right of every farmer”.
“If they can give verbal assurance I fail to understand why they can’t make it a legal obligation of the Government of India.”
“Those claiming it’s the Congress that’s instigating the farmers are blind not to see the lakhs of farmers trying to enter Delhi from across the country. It’s a fight for their lives and livelihoods and they don’t need any backing or provocation,” the Chief Minister added.
Sidhu had boiled veggies, I had missi roti, says Amarinder Singh
A day after meeting his former Cabinet colleague Navjot Sidhu over luncheon after over a year of ‘political differences’, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said his former colleague had boiled vegetables and he himself partook a lunch.
Taking a dig at the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) over its remark on him hosting a banquet for Sidhu, the Chief Minister said while his former cabinet colleague had boiled vegetables, he himself partook a ‘missi roti with dahi’ during the lunch.
“Does that look like a banquet to the Akalis?” he remarked.
Amarinder Singh hoped that he and Sidhu would continue to have cordial meetings like the one they had yesterday, where they spoke a lot about cricket, apart from a host of other things.
Both were in a good mood during the one-hour luncheon meeting, to which he had invited Sidhu after the latter expressed interest in meeting him, said Amarinder Singh.
“I was satisfied and happy with the meeting, and so was Sidhu,” he added.
Quashing media speculation of serious discussions between the two, the Chief Minister quipped contrary to what was being suggested, “We did not make any plans for Punjab or India or the world”.
“We just had some simple talks, during which Sidhu shared a lot of his cricketing experiences,” said Amarinder Singh, adding unfortunately the media was making a mountain out of a molehill.
The two leaders had not been seeing eye to eye for quite some time and the meeting was seen in political circles as a bid to bury the hatchet.
Sidhu had been lying low ever since his resignation from the state Cabinet in July last year.
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