- People still being lured by scammers to impractical crypto projects.
- Online group reneged on promise to offer a ten percent return on Bitcoin transactions.
- Bitcoin lacks regulatory permission or protection in India.
There is an upsurge of cases involving cryptocurrency scams and frauds in India like have not been witnessed before. Despite the many warnings to people regarding taking care when making investments, ordinary folks are still being lured by scammers to impractical crypto investment projects.
Duped of 64 Bitcoins
The latest case, according to a senior police official involves a Vadodara-based businessman who has filed an official complaint after losing the amount of Rs. 3 Crore to three people from the states of Pune and New Delhi who swindled him of over 64 Bitcoin.
Area deputy police commissioner Jaydeepsinh Jadeja told reporters that businessman Pravesh Nike had filed a complaint against Amit and Ajay Bharadwaj from Delhi and Hemant Bhopena from Pune.
Nike is reported to have met the three persons via an online group claiming to trade in Bitcoins but went back on their promise to offer a ten percent return on Bitcoin transactions.
In the official complaint, Nike alleges the three individuals cleverly removed the word Bitcoin from the agreement documents the two parties signed and instead inserted the words crypt currency. The police commissioner stated that case against the three individuals has been filed under relevant sections of IPC and Information Technology Act and that they had started investigations.
Political Parties Involved in Scams
In July 2018, a congressman Shaktisinh Gohil claimed there was a huge Bitcoin Scam involving over Rs. 5000 crore going in in Gujarat and went on to implicate a top BJP leader in Gujarat for involvement in money laundering. The Congress spokesperson sensationally claimed the some people had pegged the figures as high as Rs. 88,000 crore.
The congressman alleged the top BJP leadership was involved and said further there were reports that state police blackmailed Surat businessmen for extortion. Gohil told reporters:
“As the BJP is scrambling for answers to explain how Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, whose director is BJP chief Amit Shah, received old currency worth ~745.58 crore in just five days and how ~3118.51 crore was deposited in 11 district co-operative banks linked with BJP leaders in Gujarat itself, a new ‘mega bitcoin scam’ worth more than RS 5,000 crore has been unravelled in the state.”
India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India has repeatedly warned citizens against investing in cryptocurrencies since 2013.
RBI went further to give a directive to all Indian banks against dealing with any cryptocurrencies, leading to the closure of India’s leading cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay last September; Zebpay has since relocated and set up shop in Malta and Singapore. Bitcoin is not legal tender in India and therefore lacks regulatory permission or protection.