IMA scam: CBI arrests former Minister Roshan Baig

 thehindu.com  11/22/2020 16:44:32 

After several hours of questioning, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday arrested former Minister Roshan Baig in the 4,000 crore I Monetary Advisory (IMA) investment scam. A team of CBI officials picked up Mr. Baig from his residence around 11 a.m. for questioning.

He has been remanded in judicial custody and he will be housed in the quarantine cell at Central Jail, Parappana Agrahara.

The prime accused in the case, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, managing director and chief executive officer of the IMA Group of companies, had alleged that he had given Mr. Baig 400 crore. Before fleeing the country to evade arrest when the scam first broke, Mansoor Khan released an audio clip in which he blamed Mr. Baig for his situation, claiming that the former Shivajinagar MLA who was with the Congress at the time had failed to return the above-said amount, which led to IMA defaulting on its payments.

The then Revenue Minister R.V. Deshpande had said Mr. Baig had introduced Mansoor Khan to him seeking help. The Revenue Department was probing IMA at the time. However, Mr. Baig has been insisting that he had no role in the scam and he knew Mansoor Khan only as a businessman from his constituency. He alleged that Mansoor Khan was indulging in name-dropping to get away unscathed.

In July 2019, a Special Investigation Team probing the scam detained Mr. Baig at the airport for questioning, while he was boarding a chartered flight at Kempegowda International Airport. He was questioned by SIT for several hours before being released.

The CBI had filed a supplementary charge sheet against a total of 28 accused, including six public servants, in October earlier this year

Mr. Baig, a seven-time MLA, was last associated with the Congress. He was earlier associated with the Janata Parivar.

Suspended by Congress

The Congress suspended him in June 2019 after his name cropped up in the IMA scam and he publicly criticised several Congress leaders. A month later, he resigned as a legislator along with other Congress and JD(S) MLAs, though he was not wooed by the BJP. He was disqualified by the then Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar, which was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Though he resigned and played a role in toppling the JD(S)-Congress coalition government, the BJP high command blocked his entry into the party over his tainted image and his alleged role in supporting the killers of RSS worker Rudresh at Shivajinagar in 2016.

However, he continued to support BJP, praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi and even support the party on the Ram Mandir issue. He did not contest from Shivajinagar in the November 2019 bypolls. Though he claimed to be supporting BJP during the bypolls, the party explicitly disassociated with him, embarrassing him. The Congress won the seat.

Presently, Mr. Baig had become a political pariah and was not associated with any political party.

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