IMA Jewel Scam: Investors had Apprehensions of Getting Cheated

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IMA Jewels owner and managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan (Photo | Video screengrab)

Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily

BANGALORE — After IMA Group of Companies’ owner Mansoor Khan allegedly fled the country with the money of investors, more than 30,000 people came out to file a police complaint against him. A large number of them invested their money, hoping to get some amount of income per annum or month in return from the IMA, despite not being from a very rich background. It is said that the investors got carried away with the reputation of Mansoor Khan’s name and a Shariah-compliant investment.

Yet, some of the investors told the Caravan Daily that they had apprehended getting cheated on because they were aware of other such companies based in Bangalore that had cheated their investors. IMA was a big company but there were also a number of small companies that fled with the money of their investors.

One of the Investors, Shamsul Islam, who is a resident of Bangalore, said that in 2017 when he was investing Rs. 10 Lakh, he knew that he was taking risk as the company was not functioning in a transparent manner.

“It is true that I had taken a type of risk. I had an understanding that such companies had no guarantee of long-running. It was in my thought process while I was investing. I knew that this company never published its balance sheet or statements yet it was procuring money from investors. If you are taking investor’s money, your profit and loss must be published, but this company was not doing so. I knew that it would not sustain for long,” said Islam, who had an inkling of getting conned.

According to a report in the Times of India, Khan was interrogated by the police on June 6 after the Reserve Bank of India alerted the police about the IMA’s activities. The police had asked him to furnish documents, such as the company’s balance sheet. Khan promised to appear before the police on June 9, but he conveniently fled the country the day before that.

According to Islam, the IMA is not the first company in Bangalore whose owner ran away with the money of their investors, but one of the 50 companies that did so. All of them were functioning in the same pattern. Thousands of complaints have been registered on such fraudulence and the crime branch is duly investigating into the cases.

Yet, he invested 10 lakh in the company because he wanted to invest in a company which was not interest-based. Besides, he was jobless at that time and is still unemployed. He thought he would get returns from the company, that he hoped will work as an income for him. The company which was running for the last 12 years used to give 3% returns, which made up for 36 per cent per annum.

Ansaar Salman, whose wife Aisha Siddiqua invested Rs. 1.50 lakh in the IMA three years ago after selling her jewellery had also sensed that such type of companies did not run for long. When he was investing, he knew that some kind of fraud is going on in a Hyderabad-based company, Hira. Yet, he had a very positive opinion about the IMA. He also got carried away with the IMA because of Khan’s reputation among local Islamic clerics who praised and supported him. Salman, who runs furniture business in Bangalore, is still in denial of the manner in which Khan ran away with the investor’s money. A part of him still thinks a part of the money has been left behind.

Salman said that the Imam of Bangalore Jama Masjid had praised Khan for his works. Now, the Imam is being asked about it by the media. Another religious personality Mufti Shuhaibullah also wrote a book in support of Khan’s company, in which he religiously established the fact that the investment in the IMA is permissible. He also runs a madrasa which was built by Khan, at the cost of 21 crores. Following this, many have alleged that he wrote that book in return for 21 crores.

Salman’s brothers had also invested in the IMA. They have been on the receiving end of some fortuitous good luck, because Salman and his brother withdrew all their money seven months ago, thereby not losing a single rupee of their investment.

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