Bitcoin scams in India, government cracks down with special team

The world of cryptocurrency is filled with allegations and occurrences of scams and fraud. To counter this to an extent, the Government of Maharashtra in India has ordered a special investigation team to look into cases of Bitcoin [BTC] fraud in the state.

The team was assembled under the Additional Director General of the Economic Offenses Wing. The government then proceeded to issue lookout notices against companies that are said to be involved in fraudulent procedures.

This comes after the cases of Bitcoin fraud reported in the cities of Kolhapur, Pune, Thane and Yavatmal. The combined haul of the companies accused comes close to 200 million INR, which translates to around $2.9 million. Out of this, the police have recovered 10 million INR, or close to $140000.

There were three companies involved in the scam, with the biggest offender being the company called Gain Bitcoin. The company made away with around 170 million INR in the Yavatmal and Pune locations, with 3 of the accused already being arrested. Other companies involved include Zipcoin Cryptocurrency and Flintstone Technology, who made away with 20 million INR and 17 million INR respectively.

The offenders have been registered under the Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors Act, Prize Chits and Money Circulation [Banning] Act, and Information Technology Act.

Minister of State for Home, Deepak Kesarkar stated that the government would seek help if needed from the Enforcement Directorate. This was part of his statement during the current monsoon session of the state legislature.
Kesarkar said:
“No timeframe has been given to the SIT to complete the probe. Each case is at a different stage of investigation and will take its own time.”

The matter came to the forefront after a legislator of National Congress Party, Hemant Takle, raised an attention notice. A reply issued by the government states:
“[The] RBI has from time to time issued circulars cautioning the general public against investing in cryptocurrencies and similar notional currencies not issued by RBI.”

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Author: Anirudh VK
Image Credit: UnSplash

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