Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Karnataka govt gives CBI permission to indict 2 IPS officers in multi-core IMA ponzi scam

The two officers, Hemant Nimbalkar and Ajay Hillori, are accused of shielding I Monetary Advisory group chief M.M. Khan in a Rs 2,500-crore ponzi scam case.

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has given the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the green light to indict two senior IPS officers, Hemant Nimbalkar and Ajay Hillori, for their alleged involvement in the multi-crore I Monetary Advisory (IMA) ponzi scam case.

CBI officials say Nimbalkar and Hillori have been accused of shielding IMA Group founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan, and the agency had sought necessary sanction from the Karnataka government under the Prevention of Corruption Act to continue its investigation.

Khan, who is accused of cheating investors to the tune of over Rs 2,500 crore, had fled the country after winding up his operations in Bengaluru overnight. A look-out notice was issued against him by the Enforcement Directorate and the Karnataka Police.

The Karnataka government had set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the ponzi scam, and this team traced Khan to Dubai. He was arrested in Delhi on 19 July 2019 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which had begun a simultaneous investigation into the scam. Khan had agreed to surrender and cooperate with the probe, on certain conditions.

ThePrint has accessed the government order dated 7 January, issued from Raj Bhavan, which states: “After being satisfied that prima facie the offences appear to have been committed by Sri Hemanth Nimbalkar, Additional Commissioner (Admin), Bengaluru City, and Sri Ajay Hillori, Commandant, Karnataka State Reserve Police, 1st Battalion, Bengaluru, sanction of the government is hereby accorded to Central Bureau of Investigation, Bengaluru, to conduct any inquiry or investigation into the allegations against the said officials.”

A source in the CBI said the agency has a “watertight case”, and there will be more revelations during the course of the investigation.

ThePrint reached Nimbalkar and Hillori through phone calls but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.


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Accusations against Nimbalkar and Hillori

The biggest allegation against Nimbalkar and Hillori is that despite thousands of complaints against the IMA group chief, they prepared a report that gave Khan a clean chit.

In December 2019, the CBI had said in a press note that after a thorough investigation, it found that six officials, including these two Karnataka cadre IPS officers, had “blatantly and dishonestly favoured IMA Group and allowed them to continue their activities unhindered and failed to take timely action in spite of being directed to conduct an inquiry”.

The CBI had sought similar sanctions to indict the other four officials — deputy superintendent of police D.B. Sridhara, inspector M. Ramesh, sub-inspector P. Gowrishankar and Bengaluru North Assistant Commissioner L.C. Nagaraj.

Along with these officials, senior Congressman Roshan Baig was also detained and questioned by the SIT. Khan had alleged that Baig had borrowed Rs 400 crore from him.

Days before Khan’s arrest, Baig had been detained at the Kempegowda International Airport, just as he was about to board a flight to Pune. He was released after 14 hours of questioning.


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