Bitcoin and its traders have once again come on the radar of criminals. This time, however, they’ve not been involved in any Ponzi scheme. Instead, they were kidnapped and held for ransom. The incidents have occurred in Rajasthan, where a gang of 11 people abducted and kept several Bitcoin traders for ransom on gunpoint. Jaipur Police just rescued 3 of the kidnapped people from this gang on Monday and arrested 7 members of the gang for their deeds. Four other members of the gang are absconding right now.
The incident came to light after Jaipur Police carried out a massive search operation with Rajasthan anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on the complaint of a resident. According to Mr. Vikas Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jaipur West, someone from Shankara Residency of Bhankrota complained around 2:30 AM on Sunday that there’s someone with a pistol in A block of the residency. Immediately after complaint Rajasthan Police teams from six police stations reached the spot along with ATS team members, and a search operation was initiated in the 11-story building of Shankara Residency.
The man with pistol in his hands was caught after a chase of 20 minutes. After being caught he told about his other gang members who were there on the 9th floor of Shankara Residency. Police reached the 9th floor, arrested 7 members of the gang and rescued 3 people from their custody. The names of people rescued are Luftan Shaikh (19) of Thane (Maharashtra), Malang Shah (44) of Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh) and Mohammad Shazad (36) of Bikaner (Rajasthan).
In the end, Police also carried out a search operation on every single floor and block of the apartment. All terraces, floors, and apartments were checked to ensure that no one else is being held captive. And here’s what DCP Sharma told media after this operation:
“The gang kidnapped Shaikh and Shazad, two bitcoin traders, and demanded 80 bitcoins worth ₹8 crore. Shah was kidnapped two days later. The gang demanded ₹10 lakh from his family members.”
But the 3 people rescued from these criminals are not alone to have gone through the ordeal. After the arrest of these culprits, two other complainants have also come forward from Kota and Agra who had similarly been tortured by them. Here’s what DCP Sharma told about them:
“After the arrest of the seven accused, two more complainants have come forward. One is from Kota who was called to Mumbai by the gang and mistreated in the same way as the three victims who we rescued from Bhankrota. The other complainant is from Agra who was called to Jaipur. Both were released by the gang after extorting them.”
But how did they find their victims?
At this point, you may be wondering how did they find their wealthy victims who could meet the ransom demands laid out by them. The answer lies in their modus operandi. They used to call people with false assurances of investing in Bitcoin and making them rich, and when those people used to come to meet them they were abducted. After abducting they were tortured mercilessly. According to cops, one member of the gang was also a ‘torture specialist’, who used to find out new ways of brutally torturing the victims. The gang has also been involved in various other crimes before, including loot.
Notably, cryptocurrency crimes are on a rise in Jaipur. Last month too Rajasthan ATS had arrested 4 people involved in a Bitcoin scam from Jaipur. Before that, a Jaipur-based couple had been arrested for Bitcoin fraud. And now this gang was also found to be operating from Jaipur. Let’s hope that all members of this racket (including those who’re absconding) are brought to justice. Stern action must be taken against such people to set an example for everyone!