Business 10 April 2018Dennis Wafula
India police nab rogue officers in $1.8M Bitcoin ransom case
The criminal investigation department (CID) of the Gujarat police has filed a criminal complaint against eight police officers who allegedly kidnapped a businessman and forced him to pay the ransom in cryptocurrency.
According to reports, the eight police officers kidnapped a businessman named Shailesh Bhatt in Surat several months ago, and forced him to transfer 200 SegWit-Coin BTC (otherwise known as Bitcoin Legacy or Core) worth $1.8 million at that time. Aside from the cryptocurrencies, the rogue officers also demanded an additional ransom of $4.9 million before they let Bhatt go, investigators said.
Days later after his release, Bhatt reported the incident to the police department. Two officers, constables Babu Der and Vijay Vadher, were arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping on Sunday. The six other officers have yet to be arrested, along with a lawyer who CID claimed was also involved in the incident.
This is the second kidnapping case involving cryptocurrency in Surat this year. In March, a businessman was reportedly kidnapped by two police officers, Anisuddin Saiyed and Chintan Shah, who demanded payments of the ransom in SegWit-Coin BTC. The two officers were later arrested for the offense.
Cases of kidnapping have greatly increased in India and other places in the world. The increase in SegWit-Coin BTC prices in 2017 and the beginning of this year has resulted in the growing number of crime incidents involving cryptocurrencies.
In June 2017, a businessman was kidnapped by six individuals in Mohall who demanded a ransom in cryptocurrency. The six were later arrested and charged with the offense. In September, police officers also arrested six people for kidnapping, robbing and assaulting a businessman In New Delhi. According to reports, the businessperson had gone to meet his alleged kidnappers in order to pay them in cryptocurrency.
Authorities in India have issued warnings to the public about cryptocurrencies. They urge the citizens to be very careful in their transactions to avoid instances of fraud and robbery. Regulatory officials in India are taking up measures to help prevent these criminal activities related to cryptocurrencies. Last week, the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) banned banks in the country and regulatory financial institutions from providing financial services to customers dealing in cryptocurrencies.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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