By Sunil Garodia
If Congress (either on its own or in alliance) is at the helm of affairs, will scams and corruption be far behind? The latest to sully the image of the party is the fast ballooning ponzi scam in Bengaluru in which, at last count, more than Rs 1700cr (expected to cross Rs 5000cr by the time the last complaint is filed) have been lost by investors who were duped with promises of halal investment and/or fancy interest rates on their investment.
The reports that are emerging are distressing, to say the least. The Times of India reports that a particular minister tried to bail him out with a Rs 600cr package even after it became known that Mohammed Mansur Khan was running a racket to fleece people, but his efforts came to naught as he came up against a conscientious IAS officer who refused to sign the papers.
It has also come to light that Khan was able to flee from the country when things got too hot with the active connivance of the administration. He boarded a flight to Dubai with the investigating agencies close on his heels. It is now clear that Khan was kept in the loop by someone in the government and advised to leave India.
When Khanâs firm was under the RBI scanner and the revenue department had put out a notice detailing the fraudulent practices of his firm, Khan approached a bank for a huge loan. The bank insisted on a no-objection certificate from the state government which tried his best to acquire through the office of the above-mentioned minister. But they had not reckoned with the IAS officer who refused to sign the papers to issue the certificate.
Once the bank loan bailout failed, Khanâs empire began to crumble. He defaulted on interest payments in March, leading to a spate of complaints against him. His efforts to keep the scam running did not succeed as no Peter was making a fresh investment for him to pay interest to the thousands of Pauls who were knocking at his door. Hence, Khan first shipped his family out of India and later fled himself. His flight could not have been possible without some corners being cut by his friends in the administration. For, by the time he boarded the flight, everyone in the government knew he was a scamster and was in trouble.
This leaves the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka to handle the fallout of the case and deal with the army of duped investors. With the scam figure rising every day, the government is going to take a bad hit. As the alliance is already rocked by several controversies and the Lok Sabha election debacle, one feels this scam will now pull it apart at the seams. A certain B S Yeddyurappa must be watching the developments with glee.