Since the past few days, we have been talking about different things happening in the crypto space, in the past few months. However, so far we haven’t touched upon what a lot of people have been suspecting: The bitcoin scandal that rocked Gujarat.
A lot of people rightly think that Pune and Maharashtra saw the worst bitcoin-related crimes, courtesy of Amit Bhardwaj and Co. However, Gujarat also saw a spate of crimes this year which began in Amreli.
The story, as far as media reports go, came into limelight when a Surat-based businessman Shailesh Bhatt alleged 12 people including 11 policemen of abduction and extorting 200 bitcoin from him. Although the policemen were immediately booked, there was a viper’s nest, that emerged when investigators dug deep.
It emerged that Bhatt himself was accused of abduction and extortion of bitcoin from employees of Bitconnect. The CID investigator handling the case had said, “A lot of phone calls had started between Shailesh Bhatt, his partner Kirit Paladiya, Ketan Patel, Anant Patel and others. During the probe it has come to light that former BJP MLA from Dhari, Nalin Kotadiya, had called up Kirit Paladiya during the wee hours of February 11 to ask whether he is coming to Ahmedabad or not.”
With Kotadiya officially declared an absconder, the case took a further murky turn. The Congress spokesperson from Gujarat, Shaktisinh Gohil, alleged in July, “A new mega bitcoin scam has been unraveled in Gujarat. The finger of suspicion of this massive scam of illegal cryptocurrency directly points to several top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and a mastermind — an absconding BJP leader and former MLA Nalin Kotadiya.” He also alleged that the amount of the scam was close to Rs 88,000 crore.
Although the figure itself is disputed (given that it took place around the time of demonetization), there are some hard questions that need to be asked.
- If there are more BJP party leaders (former or current) involved, will the police be brave enough to arrest them?
- What was the actual value of the money embezzled?
- What are the police doing to trace Kotadiya?
- Are these incidences separate or do they tie up with one single person who has immunity from the state and law enforcement agencies?
Although we understand these questions may never receive an answer, it is our duty to raise them nonetheless.
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