A simple case of abduction and bitcoin extortion has shot to unprecedented levels! Last month, a Gujarat-based businessman alleged some policemen abducted him and robbed 200 bitcoins off of him at a farmhouse near Amreli, Gujarat.
However, in a bizarre story, the complainant has been named as an accused in the case. This breakthrough happened when the Gujarat Criminal Investigation Department (CID) booked the Surat-based businessman Shailesh Bhatt for extorting Rs 155 crore in cash and bitcoin.
Last month Bhatt had accused a police inspector Anant Patel of abducting him and confining him at a farmhouse and forcing him to transfer 200 bitcoin from his mobile phone. According to the First Information Report, around 12 people had been named, of which 11 were policemen.
On Monday, Additional DG Ashish Bhatia told media persons, “Around two years back, one Satish Kumbhani of Surat floated a company called ‘Bit Connect’ and lured people like Bhatt to invest in it to get huge returns in short time. Bhatt had invested Rs 2 crore in it. However, its promoters shut shop in January this year and went underground.”
It must be noted that this Bit Connect has no relation to another company by the same name. The latter was based in the United States of America and was ordered to shut shop by regulatory bodies in Texas.
To recover the lost money, Bhatt had abducted Piyush Savalia by posing as Income Tax officials, as Savalia was an employee of the company. Mr. Savalia was confined in a farm house at gun-point for three days in January-end.
Bhatia elaborated on how Bhatt and his accomplices were running an underworld extortion racket that enabled people to convert their black money into virtual currency during and after demonetization by saying, “On February 1, Bhatt’s men kidnapped Dhaval Mavani at gun-point, as the latter was also attached with the bankrupt firm. Bhatt’s accomplices forced Mavani to transfer 2,256 bitcoins worth Rs 131 crore into their account. The builder and his accomplices had also transferred another 166 bitcoins worth Rs 9.64 crore into their account.”
For the price of Mavani’s freedom, Bhatt extorted bitcoins and cash worth a total of Rs 155.21 crore. Later, they distributed the bitcoins among themselves. Bhatt had kept around 700 bitcoins, Bhatia added.
This elaborate web came loose when Savalia was questioned after Bhatt’s abduction and after the arrest of Amreli Superitendent of Police (SP) Anant Patel and Bhatt’s business partner Kirit Paladia.
Liked what you read? Join us on Telegram