Seven top officials of GainBitcoin founded by Amit Bhardwaj were allegedly getting the maximum share of payment in their accounts from the money paid by investors. Four of them are Bhardwaj’s family members while the other three are his partners, said police a day after Bhardwaj was arrested from Delhi and brought to Pune.
The top officials, known as ‘seven stars’, have been identified as Amit Bhardwaj’s father Mahendra Kumar and brothers Vivek Kumar and Ajit while the partners have been identified as Ashish Dabas, Manu Sharma and Rupesh Singh.
Pune police commissioner Rashmi Shukla said that these seven people were regarded as the ‘seven stars’ of the company and the investors’ money collected during online transactions was distributed amongst them. “We have started an investigation into their online transactions and have booked them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These seven men earned the maximum money from the investors in the bitcoin scam,” she said.
Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and Cyber Cell of the Pune police arrested the alleged cryptocurrency mastermind and director of firm Gain Bitcoin, Amit Bhardwaj, in connection with a multi-crore cryptocurrency scam reportedly worth over ₹2,000 crores. Bhardwaj was arrested by the Pune police from the Delhi airport after he returned to the national capital from another country on Wednesday.
Bhardwaj’s arrest came a day after the EOW arrested seven people in connection with the cryptocurrency scam. According to Rashmi Shukla, Bharadwaj had set up a multi-level marketing company and is accused of cheating investors to hand him bitcoins in the promise of higher returns. Under his scheme, investors were lured to invest one bitcoin for a ten per cent return on their investments, said crime branch officials. The contract would be valid for eighteen months. Three cases of bitcoin multi-level marketing scam have been registered in Pune; two at Nigdi and one at the Dattawadi police station.
Police commissioner Shukla described it as one of the major scams with interstate ramifications and have taken the help of cyber crime experts to investigate further. In the case lodged at the Nigdi police station, Bhimsen Baburam Aggarwal, a resident of Pradhikaran, named six suspects including Amit Bhardwaj and Ajay Bhardwaj, both directors of GainBitcoin. Aggarwal had invested ₹1 crore in Gain Bitcoin for 93.5 bitcoins and was duped.
Cyber cell officials said that so far, 25 people have come forward and complained regarding the bitcoin-related scam and the amount is around ₹2.25 crore till date. The police have seized 32 bitcoins, 79.99 other virtual currencies and ₹38.96 lakh cash in connection with the scam.
Preliminary investigation details revealed by commissioner Shukhla stated that 160 bitcoins and three lakh MCAP currency will be seized soon. Three special teams have been constituted under the Special Investigation Team (SIT) by the Pune police to undertake the investigation.