A former Karnataka minister accused of a Ponzi scam may see his assets frozen soon

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A former Karnataka minister accused of a Ponzi scam may see his assets frozen soon
IANS
Karnataka government has submitted to the High Court that it has issued order to attach the movable and immovable assets of former state minister, R. Roshan Baig, who is an accused in the multi-crore Ponzi scam of I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) group of companies.

The state government submitted its report on Wednesday.

On June 12, the High Court had slammed the state government over the delay in taking a decision on attaching the properties of eight-time Congress legislator, Baig, under the provisions of the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments (KPIDE) Act, even two months after the court passed the order to do so.

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A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj on June 12 had granted the government two weeks' time.

After this rap, the state government submitted to the High Court that it has issued a notification on July 6 attaching around 20 immovable and movable assets of the former Minister located in various parts of the city.

The state government also submitted another notification under the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Act, 2004, attaching a sum of Rs 62.26 crore paid in excess to the 100 top depositors of the IMA group who had received the amount in excess of their principal deposit amounts from out of the deposits of the IMA group.

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The copies of the notifications were submitted before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj during the hearing of a batch of PIL petitions related to the scam.

The attached assets were those declared by Baig in his nomination papers when contesting elections to the state Assembly in 2018 and the present market value of these properties are yet to be declared after being assessed by the jurisdictional sub-registrars, it was stated in the notification. The notification has also indicated the values of these properties, around Rs 15-Rs 16 crore, as declared by Baig in his affidavit filed before the Election Commission of India.

The notification issued by the government also lists properties including a commercial building developed in joint development (JDA) on the Hosur Road (with 33 per cent share), a commercial building on the Residency Road, houses on Sanders Road, Cleveland Road and sites each in HBR Layout, Fraser Town and Cleaveland Road.

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The notification submitted to the court also stated that the government had found that Baig had played a key role in the promotion of the IMA Group obtaining financial gains.

Baig, an eight-time legislator, was minister in the Congress-led governments in the state from 1985 onwards. He emerged as one of the influential leaders in the Congress till 2019 when his name cropped in this ponzi scam. He chose to cross over to the BJP along with 17 rebel MLAs from the Congress and JD(S).

In November 2020, the CBI had arrested Baig from his residence in Bengaluru as part of the investigation. He was then sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

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To date, the CBI has registered four cases, and filed three charge sheets and three supplementary charge sheets against 33 people in the case.

IMA group of companies were founded in 2013 onwards and I-Monetary Advisory Private Limited was presented as an Islamic banking company to investors. It is alleged that the company defrauded more than a lakh investors to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore over a period of time.

This is not the first time that Baig family's name has cropped up in such multi-crore scam, his younger brother Rehan Baig was one of the accused in the infamous multi-crore fake stamp paper scam which is also known as Telagi scam in the state. Rehan was arrested when Baig was serving as minister in then Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna's cabinet. Then too accusations flew thick that Baig was involved in the scam as a result of which he was forced to quit Krishna's cabinet in 2000

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