Bengaluru: An IAS officer, whom the CBI wanted to prosecute in the Rs 4,000-crore I Monetary Advisory (IMA) ponzi scam, was found dead at his residence on Tuesday night, a senior police officer said. According to police, the former deputy commissioner of Bengaluru urban district BM Vijay Shankar was found dead at his residence at Jayanagar here.

"It is true that he was found dead at his residence," the officer said without elaborating.

While several media reports have said that he died by suicide, The News Minute quoted Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao as saying, "We have registered a case of unnatural death and the matter is under investigation. Cause of death cannot be concluded as suicide yet."

While the exact cause is being investigated, it is strongly suspected that the officer took his own life as he was depressed after his name surfaced in the scam and he was also arrested in the case. Police said his family members reported to the police about the incident around 8 pm.

Vijay Shankar was accused of allegedly accepting a bribe to hush up the IMA ponzi scheme. He was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in 2019.

Later, when the BJP government came to power in the state, it handed over the case to the CBI.

According to agency sources, recently, the CBI sought state government's permission to prosecute Shankar, along with two others, in connection with the case after interrogating them.

The agency has also sought state government's permission to prosecute two senior IPS officers in connection with the case.

Promising high returns, Mohammad Mansoor Khan started the ponzi scheme in 2013.

A CBI probe had shown that IMA group entities headed by Khan had raised illegal and unauthorised deposits in an alleged dishonest and fraudulent manner from innocent investors to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore, raising the eyebrows of the income tax department and the RBI.

The apex bank had written to the state government to probe the functioning of the IMA.

Subsequently, the government asked Vijay Shankar to submit a report on IMA.

Vijay Shankar assigned the task of preparing the report to the assistant commissioner of Bengaluru district LC Nagaraj.

It is alleged that Vijay Shankar and Nagaraj took Rs 1.5 crore through a village accountant Manjunath to hush up the alleged wrongdoings of Khan.

The case came to light when Khan fled to Dubai leaving behind a video message saying he was committing suicide because of "corruption in the state and central governments."

Khan was arrested on July 19 last year on his arrival in New Delhi.

Along with him, seven directors of the IMA, a corporator, and a few others were arrested by the SIT.