Business 6 July 2018

Dennis Wafula

India’s ruling party hit with $763M crypto scam claims

The governing political party in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been accused of involvement in a “mega bitcoin scam” in the state of Gujarat. According to local news, members of opposition party Indian National Congress asked the Supreme Court to look into the matter and take the appropriate actions against the top government officials allegedly using their positions to commit illicit cryptocurrency activities.

Shaktisinh Gohil, spokesperson for the Congress party, described the activity as a “multi-layered” scam with a haul reaching between INR5,000 crore ($763 million) and INR88,000 crore ($12 billion). He compared the scam to a “Pandora box,” which opened up a series of criminal events that allegedly involved authorities in kidnapping and extortion of cryptocurrencies.

“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,” Gohil said, according to NDTV report.

According to Gohil, the scam began with complaints from a Surat-based builder Sailesh Bhatt against Gujarat’s Amreli district police for alleged extorting 200 BTC and demanding INR32 crore in cash. After investigations, police found that several officials were involved in the incident.

India’s Central Intelligence Department (CID) named Kotadiya as the mastermind behind the entire operation. Kotadiya absconded but has yet to be arrested, but Gohil expects that when he’s collared, Kotadiya “will reveal damning evidence which will expose top BJP leaders in the state.”

BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni dismissed the allegations, saying that the members of the opposition party have resorted to “dirty tricks” to spread confusion and lies. Baluni said, “The Congress were laughable and nothing can be more unfortunate than this as it is the state police which has cracked the case and acted against several persons.”

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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