Wednesday, January 20, 2021

India: Former Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner accused of bribery found dead at home

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IAS officer BM Vijay Shankar, investigated over allegations of bribery in the Rs 4,000-crore IMA Ponzi Scam was found dead at his home in a posh Bengaluru neighbourhood on Tuesday evening. The police confirmed suicide.

Vijay Shankar was arrested last year by a Special Investigation Team inquiring into the IMA or I-Monetary Advisory scam in which thousands of investors were cheated with offers of higher returns using Islamic ways of investment.

The former Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban was later released on bail.

“Vijay Shankar committed suicide by hanging himself. He was accused of taking bribe of Rs 1.5 crore in IMA scam. It was an unnatural death and we are investigating the case,” said Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao.

Vijay Shankar was accused of accepting bribe to cover up the fraud when he was asked by the government to inquire into the IMA scheme.

His suspension was revoked recently and he had served for about a week in the state government’s Sakala Commission

Last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sought the Karnataka government’s permission to prosecute the officer along with two others.

The main accused in the scam is Mohammad Mansoor Khan, who started the ponzi scheme in 2013. A probe by the CBI had revealed that IMA group entities had raised illegal and unauthorised deposits to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore in an allegedly fraudulent manner from investors, which caught the attention of the Income Tax department and the RBI.

The central bank had written to the state government to investigate IMA’s functioning. Subsequently, the government asked Vijay Shankar to submit a report on IMA.

The case came into the spotlight when Mansoor Khan fled to Dubai leaving a video message saying he was killing himself because of “corruption in the state and central governments.”

Khan was arrested on July 19 last year in New Delhi. Along with him, seven directors of the IMA, a corporator, and a few others were arrested by the SIT.

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