IAS officer accused in IMA scam found hanging

B.M Vijay Shankar was recently reinstated after being suspended following his arrest

hanging suicide representation (File) Representational image

IAS officer B.M. Vijay Shankar, who was among the accused in the multi-crore I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) ponzi scam, was found hanging in his Jayanagar residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.

Vijay Shankar, who was the Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner, was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on July 8, 2019, over alleged corruption charges in the Rs 4,00 crore scam. He was sent to judicial custody and lodged in Parappana Agrahara jail. 

On July 27, 2019, a special court for cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,  2002, granted bail to Shankar along with two others—L.C. Nagaraj,  former assistant commissioner, Bangalore North and P.D. Kumar Nayak,  former BDA executive engineer.

The CBI took over the investigation on August 30, 2019 and filed at least three FIRs in the case. The agency filed the first charge-sheet against IMA founder Mansoor Khan and 19 others. It named Vijay Shankar as an accused in the third FIR. 

Earlier, the Karnataka government had appointed Vijay Shankar and Nagaraj to probe the complaints against IMA group under the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments (KPID) Act, 2004. The case was later transferred to the CBI.

The CBI found that IMA and its entities were violating the government rules and misusing large amounts invested by people (depositors). But, Vijay Shankar and Nagaraj submitted a report to the government favouring IMA. The officers were accused of accepting "illegal gratification" from the IMA directors through a village accountant N. Manjunath. 

The probe also claimed that Nagaraj had received Rs 50 lakh bribe in November 2018. Later in the first week of March 2019, he received Rs 2 crore twice—totalling Rs 4 crore worth of bribes. Vijay Shankar had allegedly received an amount of Rs 1.50 crore.

It is learnt that on June 11, 2020, the CBI had sought prosecution sanction from the state government for Vijay Shankar and two other officers in the ponzi scam. Shankar who was kept under suspension following his arrest had been reinstated as additional mission director of Sakala recently.