In a setback to IPS officer and Karnataka IGP Hemant Nimbalkar, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Karnataka High Court order quashing an FIR and chargesheet filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Rs 4,000 crore I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) ponzi scam.
According to the reports, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and R Subhash Reddy stayed the Karnataka High Court’s order passed on March 19, 2021, that had quashed the sanction provided by the government to prosecute Nimbalkar in the IMA case.
Justice John Micheal Cunha of the Karnataka High Court had stayed the FIR, claiming that they are “illegal and invalid” under Section 17 A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which bars any enquiry or investigation into offences committed by the public servants while discharging their official duties.
However, the Supreme Court has now stayed the order passed by the Karnataka High Court and also issued a notice to Nimbalkar, asking him to reply in response to a petition filed by the CBI. Senior police officer Hemant Nimbalkar is the husband of Congress MLA Anjali Nimbalkar.
Hemanth Nimbalkar will now face criminal proceedings in the IMA scam case registered by the CBI on February 1, 2020. The CBI had alleged that Nimbalkar, during his tenure as the IGP of the CID, had forwarded the enquiry report of EB Sridhara – another accused in the case, to the State DG and IGP giving a clean chit to the IMA group. The senior cop had asserted that the probe had not found any wrongdoings on the part of the IMA group of entities to invoke the provisions of Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Act, 2004 against them.
Hemant Nimbalkar gave clean chit to the IMA company, did not carry out probe despite RBI’s request
The CBI has alleged that the officer had categorically maintained that the deposits collected by the IMA group of entities were exempted under the law. Despite RBI’s request for a detailed enquiry by the CID on unauthorised deposits, Hemant Nimbalkar had asserted that there was no requirement to probe into the IMA issue.
Earlier in October last year, the CBI had filed a charge sheet against 28 accused persons, including five police officers, in connection with the multi-crore IMA scam. The charge sheet also included Mohammed Mansoor Khan, the CEO and managing director of the Bengaluru-based investment firm I-Monetary Advisory (IMA), who had duped investors across the state to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore.
The CBI had named six police officers, who are currently under investigation by the SIT for their alleged involvement in the IMA scam. The senior officers named in the FIR are LC Nagaraj, EB Sridhara, Hemant Nimbalkar, Ajay Hilori, M Ramesh, and P Gowrishankar.
The charge sheet alleged senior police officials did not verify and act on the complaints against IMA. The CBI said that the accused instead gave a clean chit to the company and recommended that the complaints be closed, stating that IMA had not indulged in any illegal acts. The charge sheet also alleged that the “illegal” activities of the company continued unabated, and thousands of investors were scammed, who lost crores of rupees in the 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 the 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 a few Congress leaders 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.