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ED attaches assets worth Rs 209 cr in ponzi scheme case

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 28, 2019 Published on June 28, 2019

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Bengaluru-based IMA Group accused of cheating more than 40,000 investors, who had invested Rs 4,000 cr in the schemes

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has provisionally attached assets worth Rs 209 crore of the Bengaluru-based IMA Group of Companies in a case in which over 40,000 people have been cheated through ponzi schemes. The attachment includes immovable properties worth Rs 197 crore, Rs 98 lakh from 51 bank accounts and Rs 11 crore from HDFC Bank, held in the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme.

Based on the first information report filed on June 9 under Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, registered by the Bengaluru Police against the IMA Group of Companies and its Managing Director, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, the ED has initiated investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The FIR revealed that the accused entities had cheated more than 40,000 middle class and lower middle class people through ponzi schemes and had received as much as Rs 4,000 crore in investments. It is suspected that Khan has been absconding since the FIR was registered.

It was revealed that Khan had promised a return on investment ranging from 2.5 to 3 per cent per month to all the investors. “Investigations revealed that the IMA Group was not doing any business to pay the promised monthly return on investments made by the public and that Mohammed Mansoor Khan was running a ponzi scheme and they were all working on the instructions of Mohammed Mansoor Khan. So far, 20 immovable properties held in the name of Mohammed Mansoor Khan and his entities have been identified as proceeds of crime. The valuation of the 20 immovable properties is about Rs 197 crore as evaluated by the approved Government valuer,” a press release by ED stated.

On analysis of 105 bank accounts with various private banks and co-operative societies of the IMA Group of companies, it was revealed that Mohammed Mansoor Khan had received about Rs 4,000 crore in investments. The accused and his associates diverted the amount to various accounts and acquired various immovable and movable properties in his name, in the name of the other directors and associates. Investigation done so far have identified 20 immovable properties and 105 bank accounts. The balance available in these bank accounts is around Rs 12 crore.

Investigations have also revealed that Mohammed Mansoor Khan had deposited cash of about Rs 44 crore in various bank accounts during the demonetisation period. As a result of the action of the Income Tax Department, the IMA Group had paid tax of Rs 22 crore. The remaining amount of Rs 11 crore was lying in a bank, which has been identified in the investigation. Accordingly, 20 immovable properties worth about Rs 197 crore and movable assets worth about Rs 12 crore have been attached provisionally under the Act.

The ED is in the process of issuing a Red Corner Notice against absconding accused Mohammad Mansoor Khan and is also examining the possibility of invoking the Fugitive Offenders Act.

Published on June 28, 2019
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