India’s famous Bitcoin [BTC] fraud has taken a new turn in the market as it has been reported that 10 more individuals have come forward claiming to have lost INR 3 crore to the scam, according to Times of India. This is the same Bitcoin scam which led to the arrest of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra, the Chairman of Viaan Industries Ltd.
The British-Indian businessman was interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly being involved in a Bitcoin mining scam along with the perpetrator, Amit Bhardwaj, which was worth over INR 2,000 crore and involved victims across the country in early June 2018.
Amit Bhardwaj, the CEO of GainBitcoin Miners and founder of Amaze Mining and Research Limited, was arrested earlier this year because of the Ponzi scheme executed through his company, GainBitcoin miners. In addition, the scam also resulted in the arrest of eight other people, including Bhardwaj’s brother, Ajay Bhardwaj, and co-conspirator, Hemant Bhope.
It has been reported that Amit Bhardwaj spilled out the details of the scam and information of all the people involved in the scam during his interrogation.
Pratish Naik, a victim of the scam, stated that he and the nine other victims were wheedled by the offer as Bhardwaj and Hemanth Bhope promised a 10% return in Bitcoin. This eventually resulted in the victims signing an 18-months contract in September 2016 and investing 61.6 Bitcoin in the following months. The returns were reportedly deposited in their Zebpay wallets on a monthly basis till January 2017.
Post-January 2017, Naik and the other victims stopped receiving the 10% returns promised to them and the official portal was stated to be inactive. After a couple of months, the portal was active again, but under a different name, Cryptocurrency MCap.
This was followed by the victims reaching out to Bhope, who stated that it was a new venture and asked them to create a new account on Coinbank, another cryptocurrency wallet, and link their accounts to GainBitcoin.
However, the attempt by the victims went in vain as they did not get the returns even after following the instructions given by Bhope. Moreover, they also lost the Bitcoin which was initially invested in the company.
A police officer investigating the case stated:
“The complainants have lost money to the tune of INR 3 crore [the current international valuation of a Bitcoin is approximate to INR 4.6 lakh]”