The absconding owner of IMA jewel, a ‘halal investment’ firm in Bengaluru, Mansoor Khan, who is accused in the Rs 1,500-crore IMA scam, released a videotape, Sunday, in which he offered to surrender but alleged he may be killed on his return to India.
In the 18-minute long video recording, Mansoor Khan, in his message to Bengaluru commissioner Alok Kumar said that he was willing to return to India and expose those responsible for the downfall of his business venture. Khan claimed that because the actual culprits behind the scam are “big names at the state and central levels”, there was every possibility of him being killed as soon as he sets foot in India.
Mansoor Khan furthered that with an intention to return, he had even boarded a plane on June 14, but was deplaned by officials who said he cannot be allowed out of the country. “I was asked to contact the Immigration Department, but due to Jummah (Friday prayers), it was shut,” Khan said.
While the businessman’s exact location is still not known, investigators believe he is in hiding in Dubai. His family is believed to be somewhere in India. “I must admit that leaving my motherland was a big mistake, but I was betrayed by those I called my own,” he said in the video released.
Over 30,000 complaints have been filed against IMA Jewels so far by investors who had hoped for good returns under terms prescribed by Islamic law but instead ended up losing their money. As per reports over 1 lakh people have invested in the company.
The founder and managing director of IMA jewels, Mohammad Mansoor Khan had suddenly gone missing on June 11, after an audio clip where he claimed he is ending his life due to financial distress went viral. Following this, many investors went to Khan’s office only to find it shut.
Moreover, in the audio clip released then, Khan accused senior Congress MLA Roshan Baig of arm twisting and refusing to return Rs 400 crore which he had taken after he failed to get a Lok Sabha ticket for the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Khan has also alleged that he is being harassed by several politicians and government officers who had taken money from him.
Baig, however, dismissed the allegations and called the audio clip fake. Khan had alleged that following the threat, he had moved his family members to a village and he himself was staying in South Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, Mansoor Khan in the recent video is heard telling Alok Kumar that he wants to return to India and participate in the probe, regardless of the danger to his life. “If I am allowed to return, I shall place the truth in front of your investigation team and then let the law take its course,” he said. “I want to present all the evidence I have before the police and courts. But the people involved in this scam are no small fry… if I divulge their names now, they will find my family in India and wipe them out. They are probably planning to kill me as soon as I reach India.”
Khan admitted that threatening to commit suicide in his previous audio message was a mistake. “That was a very demotivated statement. But if I am to die anyway, why shouldn’t I let my enemies there do it for me instead? They can kill me in custody, or after I have been produced in court, or out on the streets if they let me out on bail,” he said in the video message.
The IMA owner maintained that his financial venture was no Ponzi scheme, and he would do everything in his power to ensure that the investors are compensated. “Ever since the IMA was founded in 2006, it has disbursed around Rs 12,000 crores in profit earned among investors and even returned Rs 2,000 crore in capital investment. But we are willing to liquidate whatever assets we have, worth around Rs 1,350 crore, in an effort to pay back to those we owe money,” he said.
While interest-based investment in banking is prohibited under Islam, IMA would take money from investors and invested it in bullion trading, schools, hospitals, etc. In return, IMA would pay 2-4 % interest every month to investors.
Recently, there were reports that the RBI had in a 2018 letter revealed the inaction of the JD(S)-Congress led Karnataka government against IMA jewels. Reportedly, the RBI had written a letter in November 2018 asking the Karnataka state government to launch a probe into IMA jewels, a halal investment group. However, the Karnataka Congress-JDS government ignored RBI warning and did not act against the ‘halal’ investment group.