Bengaluru Ponzi Scam: SIT says probe on to find whether IMA owner Mohammed Mansoor Khan fled to Dubai

Bengaluru: the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Karnataka government to probe the alleged financial fraud perpetrated by an investment firm here, leaving thousands of investors in the lurch, Friday said it was investigating whether he had fled to Dubai.

"We are trying to find the whereabouts of Mohammed Mansoor Khan (owner of IMA Jewels). It is a matter of investigation if he has fled to Dubai," deputy Inspector General of Police B R Ravikanthe Gowda, who is heading the Special Investigation Team, told PTI. His statement came amid rumours that Khan had fled to Dubai after police found two abandoned SUVs, allegedly owned by him, one of which was near Kempe Gowda International Airport

Police sources said Khan had started his business from Dubai and later shifted to Bengaluru to start IMA Jewels. He luredpeople to invest in his firm as it encouraged investment. A majority of Muslims from various parts of Karnataka and neighbouring states fell into his trap andinvested lakhs of rupees, they said. Meanwhile, the number of complaints lodged against the company swelled to 30,000, with 2,500 being lodged on Friday alone. On June 12, seven directors of the firm were apprehended.

The same day, the state government had announced the setting up of the 11-member SIT, days Khan went absconding after allegedly threatening to commit suicide in an audio clip. As the audio went viral, panicked investors, most of whom are Muslims, had swarmed the firm's office at Shivajinagar in thousands, demanding action against the owner and directors. Khan in an audio clip which went viral on the social media had purportedly said he was committing suicide as he was fed up with corruption.

He had also alleged the Shivajinagar Congress MLA Roshan Baig took Rs 400 crore from him and was not returning it. Baig had rubbished the charge, alleging that his political adversaries had orchestrated the "series of events" to tarnish his character. Earlier in the day, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a case of money laundering in the alleged ponzi scheme.

The agency's zonal office here filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent to an FIR, and pressed criminal charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials had said. The ED took cognisance of the complaint registered by the Karnataka police and the subsequent creation of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged fraud, the officials said.

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