June 24, 2020

‘Robbed by own people’: A year on, no relief for IMA ponzi scam victims

Charan Kumar | coastaldigest.com

Bengaluru, June 24: City-based I Monetary Advisory (IMA), which duped thousands of families, mostly Muslims, in the name of halal investment, has become a bitter reality of "we were robbed by our own people". All the accused except its CEO Mohammad Mansoor Khan have been released on bail in this ponzi scam worth thousands of crores of rupees.

The scam has not only been investigated by SIT and CBI, but it has reverberated many times in the Assembly, corridors of power, and in the courts.

Around 80,000 investors are in trouble after the Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam came to light. Many investors have left this world, many families have split, many marriages have broken down and many have become unemployed, homeless, helpless and hapless. One of the senior IAS office, who had faced arrest in the scam, reportedly killed himself just a day ago.

It has been more than a year since this multi-billion scam came to light. But the affected families still do not see any ray of hope. The government, led by senior IAS officer Harsh Gupta, has set up a special competent authority to address investor grievances in the matter.

According to information provided by Harsh Gupta, investors have to be paid Rs 2,900 crore. But the value of the company's assets seized so far could be around Rs 450 crore. The process of auctioning the assets has not started yet. The authority has developed an online portal for submission of claim forms from investors. But the process of taking applications has not started yet. Syed Gulab, a social worker overseeing the case, says that after all the claim forms have been submitted, we will get a clear picture about the exact number of investors and the total amount of arrears. But this process may take a few more months to complete.

Senior journalist Maqbool Ahmed Siraj says that IMA has systematically deceived people in the name of halal investment through capital scheme. In 2006, Muhammad Mansoor Khan, a one-time small businessman, set up a company. He began to attract large number of investors by creating the greed for more profit among middle class and poor people.

By 2015, the company had received money from more than 12,000 investors and continued to pay monthly profits. By the time the company closed in 2019, 80,000 people had invested their hard-earned money here. In Bengaluru, the company expanded its reach by investing in two major gold showrooms, hospitals, schools, several medical stores, a publishing center, a supermarket, and real estate firm.

Mr Siraj says that Mansoor Khan and his team not only lured the poor and middle class to pursue their own interests but also created a favourable atmosphere for their so called business by winning the hearts of politicians, government officials, clerics, religious institutions and media.

Unsuspecting people invested their money in a bid to make more profit in less time. When the company stopped making profits and Mansoor Khan suddenly fled on June 9, 2019, the investors woke up the to the reality.

Apart from residents of Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka, people from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra other states also have invested their money.

‘Robbed by own people’: A year on, no relief for IMA ponzi scam victims

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