Friday, 6 April 2018

Director of firm involved in bitcoin scam held

6/4/2018

PUNE: The director of an online multi-level marketing company and his brother have been arrested from Delhi today in connection with an alleged multi-crore bitcoin ponzi scheme, a senior Pune police officer said.

Amit Bhardwaj, the director of Gainbitcoin, and his brother Vivek Kumar Bhardwaj were arrested a day after the Pune Police picked up seven people in connection with the alleged scam. "Acting on inputs, a team of the economic offences wing (EOW) and the cyber cell of the Pune Police went to Delhi and arrested the duo," the officer said.

The Bhardwaj brothers, both residents of Delhi, were brought to Pune and were produced before a court, which remanded them in police custody till April 13. According to the local police, Amit Bhardwaj had set up an online multi-level marketing company through which he allegedly lured investors by promising them handsome returns.

The officer said, "He would promise 10 per cent returns for investing one bitcoin but did not keep his word." Explaining the modus operandi of the Bhardwaj brothers, Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla said, "(Amit) Bharadwaj had involved Pankaj Adlakha, a motivational speaker, who conducted several seminars in various cities of the country as well as foreign destinations like Dubai."

"Adlakha motivated people to invest in bitcoins through Bhardwaj and once they invested with his company, he duped them," the police commissioner said. According to officials of Pune Police's cyber cell, so far, 25 people have come forward with complaints of cheating against Amit Bhardwaj.

"So far, the amount of cheated stands at Rs 2.25 crore. Till now, 32 bitcoins, 79.99 other virtual currencies and a cash of Rs 38.96 lakh have been seized," said a senior police officer. Pune police have set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case.

Bitcoins or cryptocurrencies is a type of unregulated digital money that is issued and normally controlled by its developers and used and accepted among the members of a virtual community. Bitcoins are not a legal tender in the country and are not recognised as a medium of exchange.

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