A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court on Wednesday granted custody of former Congress Minister Roshan Baig for three days to the national agency after he was arrested in the multi-crore I, Monetary Advisory (IMA) Ponzi scam. CBI sources said that Roshan Baig will be questioned along with prime accused in the case, Mohammed Mansoor Khan. After the scam came to light, Mansoor Khan had alleged in a video that he had given Roshan Baig Rs 400 crore and that he had maintained records of money given to politicians, bureaucrats and the police to turn a blind eye to his companyâ€™s activities.
While questioning Mansoor Khan, he allegedly confessed to the CBI that he had met Roshan Baig 14 years ago, when he had allegedly run into problems with local gangsters in Shivajinagar, whilst in the process of establishing IMA Jewels. Mansoor Khan had met Roshan Baig, asking for his assistance, a CBI source said.
Subsequently, Mansoor Khan allegedly claimed in his confession to the CBI that he had given Roshan Baig money to contest elections in 2008, 2013 and 2018. â€śMansoor Khan also claims that he gave Roshan Baig money to purchase luxury cars for him and his family members,â€ť the CBI source added.
The CBI sources said that Mansoor Khan maintained records of money transfers he made and that the money would change the hands of four individuals before it finally reached Roshan Baig. â€śThe money was transferred to shell companies, which we believe were set up by Roshan Baig,â€ť the source said.
Baig, who was disqualified as a Congress legislator after he revolted against the party last year, was arrested by the CBI on Monday and remanded to 14 days of judicial custody. The CBI suspects that Roshan Baig knew about the Ponzi scam and yet continued to accept payments from Mansoor Khan as bribes to remain outside the radar of investigators.
CBI sources said he would be 'confronted' alongside Mohammed Mansoor Khan, who is now in CBI custody till November 27. Baig's arrest came close on the heels of questioning Bengaluru Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration) Hemant Nimbalkar, another accused in the case, on November 22.
The multi-crore ponzi scheme, run by Karnataka-based IMA and its group entities, allegedly duped over one lakh people to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore, promising higher returns using halal investment schemes, sources said.
The scam came to light in June 2019 when the IMA operator Mohammed Mansoor Khan fled the country, accusing Baig and some government officers of cheating him. Khan had alleged that Baig had taken about Rs 400 crore from him, a charge rejected outright by the latter. Khan came to India after much persuasion by the police and surrendered.
The then coalition government of Congress and JD(S) had formed a Special Investigation Team to probe the matter. However, the BJP government which came to power later handed over the case to the CBI.
The central agency has arraigned an IAS officer, two IPS officers, a Karnataka Administrative Service officer and a corporator as accused in the case, among others, after the state government granted permission for prosecuting them.
The IAS officer, who was the former deputy commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district, had allegedly died by suicide in his house a couple of months ago
With inputs from PTI