The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today conducted a search operation at the Bengaluru house of former Indian National Congress (INC) minister Roshan Baig, who was arrested by the federal agency in connection with a Rs 2,500 crore ponzi scheme on 22 November.
A team of 12 CBI officials has been looking for Baig’s premises in Coles Park since this morning. The police had arrested the seven-time MLA on 22 November after he was interrogated for nearly 10 h. He has been remanded to 14 day-judicial custody. He is currently lodged in Parapanna Agrahara Jail.
An investment firm purportedly formerly functioning in compliance with Islamic banking rules, Karnataka-based I Monetary Advisors (IMA) collapsed in May last year after it could not repay either the deposits or dividends on the deposits it had illegally accepted. IMA co-founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan at the time of his arrest had alleged that Baig had cheated him of Rs 400 crore and forced him to gift expensive cars and jewellery. He had named some other government officers.
The former minister had then rejected the charge and claimed that except for some donations to Haj facilitation centers, he had not accepted any money. Over 51,500 depositors are said to have lost approximately Rs 2,500 crore collected by IMA and its subsidiaries in the ponzi scheme.
The then coalition government of INC and JD(S) had formed a special investigation team to probe the matter in September 2019. However, the BJP government which came to power later handed over the case to the CBI. The CBI has arraigned an IAS officer, two IPS officers, a KAS officer and a corporator as accused among others in the case after the state government gave permission for prosecuting them.
The INC suspended Baig from the party in June 2019 after he criticised the leader of opposition Siddaramaiah as well as then KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao. Baig had attempted to join the BJP. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s party did not rope him in, unlike 16 other disqualified legislators of INC and JDS, whose revolt led to the collapse of the HD Kumarasamy-led coalition government last year.