In relief to victims of Karnataka’s ‘halal’ ponzi scams, namely – Muzaribah, Burraq, Morgenall and Nafiya – authorities will soon start accepting claim forms for refund under the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors (KPID) Act.
These schemes, along with other bigger scams like IMA and Ambidant, targeted Muslims; unlike fixed bank interest rates, which a section of Muslims consider to be anti-Islam, these companies sold their plans as a form of partnerships with the promise of high returns of 10-12% within a month. The plan was to lure customers to invest their life savings by staying true to the offer for the first few instalments
So far the process of recovery of funds had started only for Ajmera, Ambidant and IMA ponzi schemes.
While cases were registered against these companies as early as in 2018, the Revenue department had not started proceedings against the smaller companies. Following pressure from LanchaMukta Karnataka, who had mobilised the victims and even approached the Karnataka High Court, the Assistant Commissioner North has decided to issue claim forms.
Once the forms are published as newspaper advertisements, the victims have to file their claims within a month’s time.
“Unlike IMA, where the number of victims were about a lakh, the victims of these four companies are a few thousands. This will enable them to collect the forms physically. That means we will follow the Ambidant and Ajmera process of collecting the forms and then submit them to Kandaya Bhavan (Revenue Department office),” Narendra Kumar, State Joint Secretary, LanchaMukta Karnataka, said.
Under the KPID Act, the competent authorities, usually of the rank of Assistant Commissioner or above, can sell the seized assets of the companies involved and distribute the money among the victims proportionately. In all these cases, the Assistant Commissioner North, Bengaluru is the competent authority.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Friday that it has attached assets worth over Rs 10 crore of Ambidant and its promoters. The company was not authorised to collect such funds as it was neither registered with RBI nor with SEBI under their collective investment scheme, ED said.
“The company sold their plans in the form of partnership business with promise of high returns. Initially to win the trust, it was ensured that customers get back their first instalment as promised,” the ED said.