Hyderabad: Investors of the Heera Group want to see certain Ulema and religious scholars behind bars as they believe it's they who are more or less responsible for the losses investors have suffered.
Many investors had invested their money in the company at the instance of these religious people who not only defended the company’s owner Nowhera Shaikh, but guaranteed that their investment was in secure hands.
Investors are dissatisfied with the pace and progress of investigation into the Heera Group. They are also not happy that of the 30 people named as accused, only four have been arrested — Nowhera Shaik, Biju Thomas, Molly Thomas and Aziza Juwale.
Several ulema and religious leaders were associated with Nowhera Shaikh and her companies and they influenced and misguided thousands of believers to invest in the group. The most prominent among Ms Shaikh’s supporters are Moulana Jalaluddin Qasmi, Moulana Meraj Rabbani, Moulana Arshad Basheer Madani, Dr Shehnaz Shaikh, Mohammed Aqeel from Jeddah and Moulana Tauseef-ur-Rahman of Pakistan.
They participated in promotional events of the group and spoke in favour of Ms Shaikh. They took the responsibility to ensure that the investment of the people will be secure in the hands of Ms Shaikh. They also assured people that this was a halal scheme and thus permissible in Shariah law, since, generally, charging interest is prohibited in Islam.
They profited from supporting and promoting Ms Shaik and her company publicly. She generously provided financial assistance for their academic projects and book publishing. These Ulema are now keeping mum over the bankruptcy.
Mr Younus Sayyad, an investor from Mumbai, said that the Ulema misguided their followers. People who were votaries of these religious scholars believed in their testimony and blindly invested in the company. "Many of us thought that she was a religious person and will never dupe us. We realised later that these religious personalities had supported her as they got huge money in return," Mr Sayyad said.
He alleged that Nowhera Shaikh had provided legal support to Meraj Rabbani when he was arrested by the Maharashtra police in a blasphemy case. She also financially assisted Moulana Jalaluddin Qasmi to publish his literary works and Mou-lana Arshad Basheer Madani to establish a school in Saidabad.
Mr Mohammed Ghou-seuddin Muneer, a resident of Aliabad, said not only religious scholars, but celebrities and politicians had played a key role in promoting Nowhera Shaik. He said some investors had called on the Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and requested him to refer the matter to the CBI. He said investigative agencies must grill these celebrities to find out what role they played in promoting the ponzi scheme. Such schemes promise high returns to investors but do not have legitimate business backing and are soon unable to pay back investors the sums promised.
Mr Shahbaz Ahmed Khan of the All India Heera and IMA Victims Association said recently that he had written a detailed letter to President Ram Nath Kovind elaborating the role of each and every person involved in promoting Nowhera Shaik. He said the Central Crime Station, Hyderabad, had submitted that it had seized a hard disk that contains company data, analysis of which revealed a list of 1,72,000 investors and a total investment of around Rs 5,600 crore.
“We believe that the seized data is incomplete and the number of investors and volume of invested money is many times more as many NRIs and even other nationals had invested in it,” Mr Khan said.
He claimed that Nowhera Shaikh had purchased many properties in the name of her relatives and associates with the money of investors. The properties of those who were actively involved in promoting the Heera Group should be attached, Mr Khan said.