Bengaluru

‘Appoint senior officer as competent authority’

Mohammed Mansoor Khan, founder, IMA Group

Mohammed Mansoor Khan, founder, IMA Group   | Photo Credit: Video Grab

High Court indicates that its primary focus is to protect interest of investors

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday said the State government should appoint a senior officer under the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments (KPODDFE) Act, 2004, instead of the Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner, as the competent authority on the I Monetary Advisory (IMA) case. It also asked why there was no competent authority for four months, between February and June.

The court stated that it might order a probe into the episode of appointing the DC as competent authority on June 25, and his arrest within a few days in connection with the scam after he forwarded a report to the government while acting as a competent authority.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H.T. Narendra Prasad made these observations while hearing PIL petitions, some of which are seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the scam.

The bench was of the view that a senior officer should be appointed as competent authority as Deputy Commissioners are already burdened with several other responsibilities.

“Is it [IMA case] not a matter of any urgency to the government?” the Bench asked, observing that the issue could have been prevented if the government had acted in 2018 itself. However, the government counsel claimed that there was no complaint against the IMA Group then.

Forensic audit

On the other hand, senior counsel Vivek Reddy, appearing for some of the petitioners, pointed out that there was a need to conduct a forensic audit of the IMA Group of Companies as there is a huge difference between the amount invested in these companies and the value of the properties of the group that have been attached.

While investment appears to be around ₹3,000 crore, the value of attached properties appears to be only ₹279 crore, he said.

Meanwhile, the bench was informed that a public notice was notified on July 9 about attached immovable properties, belonging to IMA Group and its founder and managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan, worth around ₹279.03 crore, gold and silver jewellery valued at around ₹66 crore, cash and fixed deposits in banks worth around ₹12 crore, and cars worth around ₹1 crore.

The bench, indicating that its primary focus was to protect the investors and later to examine the criminal investigations undertaken, adjourned the matter till July 24 in order to enable the government to place a notification appointing a senior officer as competent authority.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:05:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/appoint-senior-officer-as-competent-authority/article28695738.ece

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