Karna to strengthen existing panel to check financial frauds

The Karnataka government Tuesday decided to strengthen the existing panel to check financial frauds by including some more officials from other government bodies in the wake of recurring incidents in the state.

"There already exists a high-level committee. We will include a few more in it after discussons with the chief secretary. We will take steps to ensure financial frauds don't recur," home minister M B Patil said.

He said the committee should have representatives from the Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department.

Patil said there were many challenges to tackle cases of financial fraud, which relate to law, the cooperative and revenue departments, municipal corporations shops and business establishment department and registrars of companies.

The home minister said he would request the chief secretary to fix responsibilities on the officials concerned when such incidents occur.

A representation would be submitted to the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court on dealing with such cases, he said.

A major shortcoming, Patil said, was that Karnataka police does not have powers to confiscate properties, which their counterparets in Tamil Nadu have.

Necessary changes would be made to give the state police such powers, he said.

The minister said seven of the 24 fraud cases under investigation were being probed by the central crime branch and the rest by the criminal investigation department.

The government decision comes in the backdrop of Monday's incident when hundreds of investors thronged 'I Monetary Advisory jewels' store here worried about their money, after an audio clip surfaced with a person,alleged to be its founder and Managing Director Mohammed Mansoor Khan heard saying he is going to commit suicide as he was fed up with corruption.

Police had said they had received thousands of complaints against IMA jewels and Khan, whose whereabouts are still not known, from investors who are mainly vendors, small businessmen and from middle and lower middle class.

Referring to the 'I Monetary Advisory jewels' store case, Patil said most of the investors were from the minority community.

Since drawing interest was prohibited in Islam, Khan had turned the investors into shareholders of his business and promised distributing the profit from his earnings, he added.

Meanwhile, police have intensified the search to trace Khan.

Earlier, the government had handed over to a Special Investigation Team, the case relating to the alleged "fraud" by the investment firm, affecting thousands of investors, the chief minister's office said.