Worried investors thronged the IMA Jewels showroom in Shivajinagar, Bengaluru following an audio clip released by founder owner Mohamamed Mansoor Khan stating that he was ‘tired of bribing corrupt politicians and bureaucrats’ and planned to commit suicide. The police have yet to locate Khan’s body and confirm his death.

In the clip, Khan accused senior congress leader and MLA R Roshan Baig of not returning Rs 400 crore he had taken after being denied a ticket to the party and threatening his life. This led to a mass panic as almost 5000 investors had invested their hard earned money into the organization. If proven true, the scam could run up to Rs 2000 crore.

In a statement, MLA Roshan Baig denies all allegations against him and urges people not to believe ‘fake forwards’ and has declared himself open to any inquiry. He further reveals that he has been framed by his own party workers who wish to tarnish his image. Rumors suggest that Khan had fled the country on the evening of June 8th and sent the clip to mislead police and bank officials. It is suspected that he is currently in UAE. The police have begun a search for the absconding jeweller and have initiated an inquiry on the same.

IMA (I Monetary Advisory) is an Islamic bank and halal monetary investment firm that promised returns ranging from 14% to 18% per month before its operations turned into a ponzi scheme. The firm managed to collect Rs 2000 crore from its investors mainly belonging to the Islamic community itself. IMA has diversified into various other sectors such as jewellery, real estate, bullion trading, pharmaceuticals, publishing and healthcare.

The Indian jewellery industry has been under immense scrutiny by banks thus leading to tighter line of credit and increased problems in funding. Scams like these have only elevated the problem and will lead to further tightening of policies and regulations. The consumers have lost trust in retail jewellers and have curbed purchase of jewellery leading to diminished profits. Councils and trade bodies should aim to educate consumers not to fall prey to advertised discounts and promotions without doing their due diligence. It is advisable for them to study in detail the terms and conditions of the offers available and make an informed decision.

Image courtesy: Deccan Herald