Enforcement Directorate To Probe Scam Duping Investors Through Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme
The symbols for Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrency sit displayed on a screen during the Crypto Investor Show in London, U.K. (Photographer: Mary Turner/Bloomberg)

Enforcement Directorate To Probe Scam Duping Investors Through Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme

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The Maharashtra government today said the Enforcement Directorate would probe the alleged scam of duping investors to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore with Ponzi marketing schemes through the GainBitcoin website.

In this connection, a lookout notice has been issued for GainBitcoin founder Amit Bhardwaj, who has fled the country, Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil said.

A case was also filed at a police station in Nanded on Jan. 24, 2018 in connection with the scam, he said.

Patil was replying to a discussion on the issue raised through a Calling Attention notice by Rahul Kul (of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha) and others.

“The matter of duping of several investors with Ponzi schemes through Gainbitcoin website would be probed by the ED,” the minister said.

He said Bhardwaj and his associates allegedly duped investors to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore in Mumbai, Pune, Nanded, Kolhapur and other places in the state.

“The main accused, Bhardwaj, has fled the country and a lookout notice has been issued for him,” he said.

Another accused, Amolkumar Thombale, has been arrested while two other accused - Balaji Panchal, Raju Motewar - are absconding, he said.

The police has sealed thebank accounts of the accused and also seized Rs 6 crore, Patil added.

BJP MLA Ashish Shelar told reporters outside the Assembly that some companies allegedly lured people from Nanded and other areas to invest in Bitcoins, while promising higher returns.

“The owners of these companies are now on the run and investors feel cheated,” he said.“There should be a thorough inquiry by the Enforcement Directorate in the matter,” Shelar added.

Kul said Bhardwaj had formed the company and invited investments in Bitcoins.

“As per my estimates, he has gone abroad and Rs 2,000 crore of thousands of investors are stuck,” he alleged.

The company’s directors also allegedly transferred the investors' money into their own accounts, which is illegal, Kul said.

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