Bitcoin ponzi schemer Amit Bhardwaj pledges to return money to his victims 18741
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Ashmita Dutta
Jul 18, 2018 at 8:45 PM

The mastermind behind the treacherous and dark Bitcoin Ponzi scam, Amit Bhardwaj, has pledged to pay back in Indian rupees (INR) to the victims. He deceived the investors by convincing them to make investments in Bitcoin [BTC] for an impressive amount of return. However, it was a well-knit web crafted by Bhardwaj which eventually resulted in his arrest.

One of the victims of the Bitcoin ponzi scam commented, “We want the returns in (today’s) cryptocurrency value and not the value of the cryptocurrency when we invested. Today, the Bitcoin price is much higher than what it was when we invested. It is like Bhardwaj will keep the profits and just return the principal amount which is wrong.”

Assistance from Zebpay

In an interview with FactorDaily, Jayram Paygude, the inspector at Pune Cyber Crime Cell said, “Zebpay is the platform through which investment and sale of bitcoins were done in this case, which is why they were called for an inquiry.” Hence, Zebpay, despite being the largest and the most popular crypto exchange operating in India, has come forward to lend its helping hand in the investigation.

Bitcoin Ponzi scam enabled Bhardwaj to garner a massive wealth which was nearly equivalent to a small nation’s GDP. His proliferating deceitful web was finally cracked down by the cybercrime division of Pune from Delhi in the month of April this year.

See also: Crypto investors beware, fake William Shatner is trying to scam you!

The politicians of India became infuriated at the procrastination of the police to get hold of the other criminals involved in the scam. The issue was even raised a week back at the assembly session by Hemant Takle, a member of Nationalist Congress Party. At the assembly, he stated, “It should be noted that offenses have been registered in Vashi police station, Nigdi police station, Nanded airport police station, and Khadakpada police station, the main accused have been taken into custody, but there hasn’t been recovery of any bitcoins in these cases.”

He even expressed his scepticism towards the intention of the police by stating, “This makes one think whether the police is helping the accused in the case.” However, his accusations were refuted by a junior minister from the state of Maharashtra, Deepak Kesarkar. He commented, “They have invested some amount through Bitcoin. Some of this amount is recovered by the police department through the e-wallets of these companies. The value of these digital currencies in the wallet will be recovered but it is difficult to recover the investment made in foreign companies.”   

Bhardwaj's properties sprawled over the prime locations of Dubai that he purchased while operating the scam. As per the report prepared by Pune's cyber crime section of the police, he owns properties at Burj Khalifa and Jumeirah Tower.

See also: Cryptocurrency scam worth multi-million busted by Indian police

An anonymous victim stated, “The Pune police and Kolkata police have been trying to figure out cryptocurrency and blockchain experts to help them with the case. They have some people who are consulting them in this regard but, even then, he (Bhardwaj) is citing technical difficulty as the reason for his business going into a loss.”

He further commented, “Bhardwaj is telling the cops that he did not foresee the mining difficulty of Bitcoin increasing so he was unable to keep up with the payouts to investors and that is why he has a loss in business.”

The news reports suggested that Shilpa Shetty, a prominent Bollywood actress and her husband, Raj Kundra have also been summoned by the enforcement Directorate. These personalities may have had links with the case, and hence, they have been summoned for investigation. However, the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate against Bhardwaj involved Prevention of Money Laundering Act against GainBitcoin. The case got stronger with the FIRs recorded by the police of Maharashtra.

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