OPINION: The rise of Ponzi schemes and the economic fall of Indian Muslims

by Shoeb Ahmed Siddiqi

Most of the Muslims who invested were lured in these companies by the known clerics or Islamic Speakers, who were paid handsomely to endorse and promote these schemes and also sermonize about it from the mosques.

Muslim investors in India are the gullible target of Halal-Investment and Shariah-compliant schemes. For the last one year over 10 companies in India were either shut down or duped the investors.

Most of these Shariah or Halal investment companies use the religious rulings of Interest being prohibited in Islam and lure Muslim investors in schemes by promising high returns, while India does not recognize Islamic Banking system. 

Many financial experts and websites have referred these schemes as Ponzi Schemes, which generates returns for early investors by acquiring new investors. This is similar to the pattern of pyramid scheme which is based on using new investors funds to pay the earlier backers. 

Recent cases of Heera Group from Hyderabad and IMA Jewels from Benagluru have exposed scams of nearly 50,000 Crores.

Ms Nowhera Shaikh of Heera Group was arrested by Hyderabad police and is being probed by many agencies after FIRs were filed against her for not paying the promised returns And withholding the investments.

Mohammed Mansoor Khan of IMA fled from Bengaluru overnight, but he was arrested at Delhi Airport after his voluntary return from Dubai on July 19. Both of them had political interests, while Nowhera Shaikh founded her own political party called “All India Mahila Empowerment Party” (MEP) and contested on all seats in Karnataka Assembly elections. Mansoor Khan shared good relations with Former Karnataka Minister Roshan Baig who was taken into custody for questioning.

Nowhera Shaikh always seen in her Hijab and Mansoor Khan donning a cap and beard, were accompanied by Muslim clerics, leaders, community members who attended events and publicly endorsed them, some of the events of Heera group were even attended by celebs like Arbaaz Khan, Sunil Shetty , Sania Mirza etc. Nowhera Shaikh photoshopped herself with Ex-Foreign Minister of India Shushma Swaraj and also with the princess of Dubai Shaikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi.

But now, Heera Group victims have demanded the arrest of clerics, politicians and scores of Bollywood actors who misled the investors, Central Crime Station (CCS) of Hyderabad is likely to serve notices to celebrities who promoted Heera group.

In the meanwhile in Bengaluru, a school owner Umar Shariff, and a cleric from local mosque were recently arrested in connection who were allegedly paid by IMA in crores to promote and endorse IMA Jewels.

In a separate case in Hyderabad a FIR was filed against Universal Islamic Research Center’s lead preacher Siraj-ur-Rahman and his wife Bushra for allegedly duping their followers in the name of Halaal Investments and “double returns”.

Besides Heera Group and IMA Jewels there were several other companies like Morgenall , Ambidant, Burraqh Group etc, who duped Muslims, all in the name of Islam.

Most of the Muslims who invested were lured in these companies by the known clerics or Islamic Speakers, who were paid handsomely to endorse and promote these schemes and also sermonize about it from the mosques.

Muslim community in India which is already economically weak is being backstabbed by their own “Scholars/Islamic Speakers” in the name of financially uplifting the community, these incidents of Shairah compliant schemes has resulted in much loss to the community, one such investor died of heart attack in Bengaluru after the IMA Scam.

In order to curb the menace of Ponzi schemes, the Union Cabinet gave its approval to the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019. During the session Imtiaz Jaleel, the newly elected AIMIM MP from Aurangabad, raised concerns about the investors of these Ponzi schemes and the alleged scam of over ₹50,000 Crore by Heera Group and IMA Jewels only.

He ended it with a realistic note that people should understand that “there is no shortcut to money”.

Shoeb Ahmed is a contributor at The Milli Chronicle and hold Masters in Construction Technology. He tweets under @ShoebASiddiqi1

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Milli Chronicle’s point-of-view.