While Indian government is banning banks to deal with exchanges, Indian Police Officers abduct a bitcoin investor for cryptocurrency extortion. Gujarat police CID has filed a preliminary FIR against a police Inspector and nine other policemen.
Abduction by Police
This might be the first time that Police has filed an official FIR involving extortion for cryptocurrency bitcoin. According to the reports, the policemen had abducted and were forcing a Surat-based builder real estate player to part with 200 bitcoins, worth ₹12 crore. Furthermore, the CID department of the west-Indian state of Gujarat filed the FIR against 11 individuals including 10 policemen to start proceedings of the investigation. The FIR is for allegedly kidnapping and forcing a wealthy businessman to hand over 200 bitcoins in an extortion scheme. The police booked them when Inspector Anant Patel abducted the businessman Shailesh Bhatt. They then proceeded to force him to transfer the bitcoins from his mobile wallet.
Furthermore, his business partner Kirit Paladiya had warned him that he was under the scanner. Inspector Patel abducted Mr Paladiya and Shailesh Bhatt to a farmhouse on Feb 11. There, the officers asked Mr Bhatt to transfer the bitcoins to escape the probe. The police lodged an FIR naming 11 persons, including a private individual who reportedly played a fixer between the businessman and the police.
Uncertainty about the transfer
However, the probe has not been able to establish the said transaction of Bitcoins or cash transactions. Ashish Bhatia, DGP, CID (crime) said that:
“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”.
He further said:
“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.”
However, the probe will look into victim’s digital wallets and the suspected inspector. Furthermore, the department also raided the homes and offices or nine police officers. Also, the department has already detained three of the remaining 11 policemen while a search is underway for the remaining officers.
On one hand, RBI is disallowing banks to engage with cryptocurrency related companies and individuals. On the other hand, news of Indian police officers abducting businessman for cryptocurrency is surfacing on the tabloid.
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