In a shocking development, senior IAS officer BM Vijay Shankar, one of the accused in the multi-crore I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) ‘halal’ investment scam, has ended his life in his Jayanagar residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.
According to the reports, former Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Bengaluru Urban BM Vijay Shankar, who was under suspension for his alleged role in the IMA Ponzi scheme, allegedly committed suicide at his residence by hanging himself.
Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao has informed, “Vijay Shankar, former DC of Bengaluru committed suicide by hanging himself. He was . It was an unnatural death and we are investigating the case.”
Vijay Shankar was earlier arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on July 8, 2019, for his alleged involvement in the Rs 4,000 crore IMA scam. He was incarcerated under judicial custody at Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru.
Later that month, Shankar was granted bail by a special court for cases under the PMLA. Later the CBI took over the investigation on August 30, 2019, and filed at least three FIRs in the case. The investigative agency had filed the first charge-sheet against IMA founder Mansoor Khan and 19 others. It had named Vijay Shankar as an accused in the third FIR.
Initially, the Karnataka government had appointed Vijay Shankar and LC Nagaraj to investigate the complaints against IMA group under the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments (KPID) Act, 2004.
Later, the CBI had found that both Vijay Shankar and Nagaraj had submitted a report to the government favouring IMA, which had duped thousands of people by running a Ponzi scheme. The officers were accused of accepting bribes from the IMA directors to give a favourable report. The probe had stated that Vijay Shankar had allegedly received an amount of Rs 1.50 crore.
On June 11, 2020, the CBI had requested sanction from the state government to prosecute Vijay Shankar and two other officers in the ponzi scam.
IMA halal investment scam
The IMA halal Ponzi scheme was run by the founder of IMA group Mohammed Mansoor Khan and his associates, who duped lakhs of people by promising higher returns using Islamic way of investment. The IMA promoter has been charged for running the Ponzi scheme, which allegedly duped 40,000 investors to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore.
The IMA scam is one of the biggest money laundering and financial fraud cases unearthed in Karnataka recently. Around 40,000 investors reportedly lost their money in this scam. IMA Managing Director Mohammad Mansoor Khan had attracted investors, especially Muslims, by offering an investment scheme that appeared to follow Islamic precepts and provided lucrative returns.
More than 41,000 complaints were registered by investors accusing IMA directors of committing fraud after the firm closed in May 2019 and ceased to pay dividends.
The names of few Congress leader had also surfaced for their alleged involvement in the Ponzi scheme, making it a high-profile case. Senior Congress leaders like BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, former Congress MLA Roshan Baig, Congress legislator from Khanapur in Belagavi Anjali Nimbalkar’s husband and Karnataka IPS officer, Hemant Nimbalkar’s name had also surfaced in the investigation.
Two Karnataka cadre IPS officers Hemanth Nimbalkar and Ajay Hilori along with three police personnel were also booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Rs 4,000 crore IMA scam.