Founder and owner of the I Monetary Advisory (IMA) Group and the main accused of cheating over 23,000 investors across Karnataka, fled the country on 8 June, the Times of India reported, citing police sources. The Bengaluru police has issued a lookout notice for him, it further said.
How it all began?
The company made headlines on 10 June after an audio clip was circulated on WhatsApp, wherein Khan was purportedly heard threatening to commit suicide and blamed the central as well as state government for corruption.
He said that the Shivajinagar Congress MLA Roshan Baig had refused to return Rs 400 crore that he had taken from IMA as bribe. The audio clip was also sent to the City Police Commissioner.
In a statement, Baig denied the accusation and said that his association with the IMA group was as a legislator for the constituency. Baig also said the content in the audio was false and that he would take legal action against those spreading false information.
The first compliant against Khan was filed on 9 June, by Mohammed Khalid Ahmed, his friend and business partner, accusing Khan of cheating him of Rs 4.5 crore.
Following the circulation of the audio clip, thousands rushed to the Commercial Street police station in Bengaluru to file their complaints the next day.
According to Times of India, around 23,000 complaints where filed against Khan and his company as of Thursday evening, and the amount involved in the scam crossed the Rs 1,500 crore mark.
These investors include mainly ordinary people who had saved up money for the child's education or marriage.
The issue blew up fast on Monday, forcing Karnataka CM, HD Kumaraswamy to react. He directed Home Minister MB Patil to take hold of the situation and set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate on Tuesday.
"Considering the seriousness of the IMA Jewels fraud, the inquiry has been handed over to a special investigation team and instructions regarding this have been given to the DGP," Kumaraswamy tweeted on Tuesday.
Six directors of the IMA surrendered to the police on the same day.
The TOI report said that Khan cleared immigration and flew to Dubai in an evening flight on 8 June, before the first police complaint was filed against him. Since he was flying alone, the police suspects he sent his family in an earlier flight to the same location.
The SIT took charge of IMA's office in Shivanagar on Thursday and sealed all the lockers and safety chests.
Halal Ponzi schemes in Karnataka
Karnataka has a history of such "halal schemes," where the investments are said to be compliant with the Islamic law of Shariah, which disallows income from investment options like interest from fixed deposits.
Companies like IMA claim to offer "halal" investments with high interest returns.
Morgenall Cooperative, Aala Ventures, Injaz International, Heera Gold and Burraq are halal investment companies that have similarly fooled vulnerable investors in the past few years by taking advantage of their religious beliefs.