The Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the IMA Ponzi scam has issued notices to outgoing Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan and rebel Congress MLA Roshan Baig, as HD Kumaraswamy continued to be the caretaker-chief minister. Both of them have been asked to appear before the SIT by July 29.
Initially, both these politicians’ names had come up during the probe and they were issued notices by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the SIT respectively.
Baig was named in the first audiotape released by IMA founder and Managing Director Mansoor Khan, after the latter went absconding. In that tape, Khan had alleged that the senior Congress MLA had not returned Rs 400 crore loan he had taken from him. While initially Baig claimed that he did not know Mansoor Khan, outgoing Revenue Minister RV Deshpande said Baig had accompanied Mansoor Khan to his chamber.
Later on July 15, Baig was detained by the SIT as he was trying to leave Bengaluru at the height of the political crisis in the state, with 15 rebel MLAs including himself withdrawing support and destabilising the government.
Zameer, in his 2018 Assembly elections affidavit, had listed purchasing a property worth Rs 5 crore from Mansoor Khan. Khan continues to be in the ED’s custody after he was arrested recently, as he returned to the country after absconding for a month. He maintained that this was the only transaction he had with Mansoor Khan.
When the ED notice issue was reported in June, Zameer had pleaded innocence and said, “I’ll appear before the ED and answer the officers’ questions. If the case is transferred to the CBI, I will be the happiest person. My only prayer is that the investors — the poor people, in particular — get their investment back.”
The scam, which is to the tune of over Rs 2,000 crore, is being heard by the Karnataka High Court. Based on the court’s directions, the state government has appointed Bangalore Regional Commissioner TV Rashmi as the competent authority to recover money for the duped investors.
In connection with the IMA case, the SIT has arrested former Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner Vijay Shankar (IAS), Assistant Commissioner of the Revenue Department LC Nagaraj, BDA Executive Engineer Kumar, city corporator Syed Mujahid, one religious preacher and village accountant Manjunath, among others.