According to a report in Times of India 10 Indian policemen were charged with attempted extortion in bitcoin. The report suggests that a local businessman from Surat complained against the inspector of Amreli Crime Branch for extorting Rs. 12 crore, equivalent to about 200 bitcoins.
Gujrat CID filed an FIR accusing 11 people including ten cops for attempted extortion of a government employee.
DGP, CID (crime), Ashish Bhatia said, “At the moment, three persons including two from Amreli police and a private individual from Surat have been apprehended in the case as a special investigation team has been formed for further probe,”
The CID was able to recognize an event of extortion and abduction by the accused. On Sunday, Ashish further announced the creation of SIT, Special Investigation Team, led by DIG Dipankar Trivedi heading an SP, two inspectors plus one sub-inspector.
He added, “The FIR has been filed on the basis of evidence found by the team so far. In his application, Shailesh Bhatt had mentioned the transfer of 200 Bitcoins worth Rs. 12 crore from the digital wallet of his business partner, Kirit Paladiya. “Another Rs. 32 crore were allegedly paid for their release from a farmhouse. Later, Rs. 78.5 lakh were allegedly paid to get the Bitcoins back. All these transactions mentioned in the application could not be proven.”
The FIR states that on February 14, Amreli Police LCB inspector, Anant Patel, assisted by nine junior policemen kidnapped Paladia Bhatt and their driver Mahipal from a petrol pump near Koba crossroads. The hostages were taken to Magodi village beside Dehgam. They were allegedly threatened by Patel and were released the next day after transferring bitcoins worth 12 to 15 crores.
In similar news, a businessman from India was arrested for operating phony bitcoin scheme. Businesstoday.in reported that celebrated cryptocurrency guru Amit Bhardwaj was arrested for conducting a Rs 2,000 crore scam in Maharashtra. The entrepreneur headed many bitcoin-based projects like MCAP, GBMiners, GainBitcoin, and GB21. The recent investigation points towards a nationwide scam involving totaling up to Rs. 13,000 crore. Rajiv Kumar, one of the victims, said, “When I first approached the police in Kolkata, I was treated as a suspect. I was questioned for hours and was eventually told that I should register an FIR in my hometown.”
It should also be noted that many people are afraid to file a complaint against Bhardwaj. One of their concerns is being part of the lengthy investigation carried in such cases.
Bitcoin crime is not new news, especially after the Bhardwaj scam reveal, but it is the first time police was caught involved in the corruption. It can be a big blow to the Indian crypto community while the nation is getting ready to accept digital currency. Recently, the Indian government asked all banks for banning crypto related transactions which witnessed widespread resistance from investors. Some of these incidents have played a big role in defining the new guidelines launched by RBI, Reserve Bank of India. On the other hand, it is planning to launch a fiat pegged digital currency called Laxmi. The authorities are yet to make a final decision on the case.