The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches on senior police officers in Karnataka including Hemant Nimbalkar and Ajay Hilory in connection with the I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) ponzi scam on Friday.
Hemant was the Inspector General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department and Economic Offences, and Ajay was Deputy Commissioner (East) when IMA was probed in 2018. The main showroom of IMA Jewels was in Shivajinagar which came under the jurisdiction of DCP (East).
In all, the searches were conducted at 15 locations in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. This included 11 locations in Bengaluru, one each in Mandya, Ramanagara, Belagavi, and one location in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The searches involved multiple agencies and a team of chartered accountants, forensic auditors among others.
Deputy SP CID EB Sridhara; Inspector of Commercial Street Police Station M Ramesh; Sub-Inspector of Commercial Street Police Station Gowri Shankar; ACP Bengaluru North division LC Nagaraj; and DCO, Bengaluru Urban, BM VIjayashankar; were among the officials who were searched. Residence of the then-village accountant Bengaluru North Sub Division Manjunatha; then-chief manager Bangalore Development Authority PD Kumar were also searched, according to sources. All official designations are taken as of 2018 when IMA was probed.
The CBI had earlier recorded the statements of Hemant Nimbalkar and Ajay Hilori in connection with IMA scam in September. Ajay was tasked with looking into IMA in 2018 after the firm was repeatedly flagged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, he did not recommend any action to be taken on IMA after summoning IMA's directors and taking their statements.
IMA duped over 40,000 investors to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore under the pretext of ‘halal’ investment. The scam broke out on June 10, after thousands of investors accused the Managing Director of IMA, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, of cheating them.
While the investigations were started by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) as ordered by former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, the CBI is currently probing under the orders of current Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.