BENGALURU: “I have a five-year-old daughter who’s suffering from cancer. I had invested Rs 17.5 lakh in IMA (I Monetary Advisory) after I was told returns from the company could be used to fund her treatment. How do I save my little girl,” asked Shivajinagar businessman Jameel Ahmed. He told TOI: “My daughter has undergone a surgery and doesn’t have a kidney. I had been begging IMA managing director Mansoor Khan to understand my desperation and return my money. He said he would do so within 45 days and now I’m on the street.”Ahmed’s is not an isolated case. Thousands of investors, including burqa-clad women clutching babies in their arms, were seen standing in front of IMA Jewels on Monday praying that their money is not lost forever. Cops suspect the number of investors could be around 5,000. It includes not only Muslims from Bengaluru, but even members of other communities and people from Bidadi, Ramanagara, Channapatna and Kanakapura. Ramakrishnaiah, a farmer from Kanakapura, said he had invested Rs 4.5 lakh in the past one year. Investors were lured by the high rate of returns offered — 14-18 per cent per month. Zune Ilahi, a businessman from RT Nagar, said he invested Rs 75 lakh since mid-2017. He lost his cool when mediapersons asked him details of the interest rate he received. “What is the use in divulging the information? Can you solve the issue?” he retorted. Many investors threw a flurry of questions at police. “Tell us what have you done in the Ambidant case? How many investors got their money back? How many more days will it take to refund money to all Ambidant victims? What will happen to us? Will we get our investment back or should we drink poison,” asked furious investors. Afsar Pasha, a contractor, said: “I have been a customer for a year and invested Rs 6 lakh in the firm. I thought they were trustworthy. I suspect the audio by Khan was a gimmick to fool us. The problem with Indians is that we believe what is told to us.” ‘Founder built rapport with politicians’ n his Facebook profile, IMA founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan says he lived in Lucknow. But those who have known him claim he grew up in Shivajinagar and out of the blue, started the IMA group in 2006, which started showing results in 2008. According to those who were studying his business model, his way of making people invest money was as per the sharia. Those who started investing since 2008 are said to have got back their capital as the dividend per month was as high as 17%, which dropped to 3% and 1% in recent months. It’s said depositors panicked when the flow of dividends stopped since two months and applications were filed seeking withdrawal of funds. According to sources, Khan had managed to establish a rapport with all politicians across parties and even the Muslim clergy as the transactions were done as per Islamic banking, which gave him the certification of the transactions being halal (permissible).