Probe agency files complaint in Rs 6,600 crore cryptocurrency scam

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a Supplementary Prosecution Complaint (PC) on February 14 against four accused in connection with a case of an alleged Rs 6,600 crore cryptocurrency scam.

The complaint was filed against Simpy Bhardwaj alias Simpy Gaur, Nitin Gaur, Nikhil Mahajan and Sandeep Kumar. A PMLA court in Mumbai took cognisance of the same on February 23.

The ED’s investigation is based on multiple FIRs filed by Maharashtra Police and Delhi Police against M/s Variable Tech Pte Ltd and people linked to the company. The accused include the late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj and a number of Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) agents.

It has been alleged that the accused collected a large amount of funds in the form of Bitcoins (worth Rs 6,600 crore in just 2017) from people with false promises of 10 per cent returns per month in the form of cryptocurrency.

The collected Bitcoins were supposed to be utilised for Bitcoin mining and the investors were supposed to get huge returns on crypto assets. However, the promoters allegedly cheated the investors and concealed the ill-gotten Bitcoins in obscure online wallets.

Subsequent searches conducted at premises linked to the accused led to the recovery of multiple luxury cars, including a Mercedes and an Audi.

The ED’s investigation revealed that the accused were using cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT, Tron for complex transactions which were done both nationally and internationally.

It was found that the accused had liquidated a large amount of cryptocurrency into Indian rupees. The ED attached properties worth Rs 69 crore and has sought assistance from foreign countries to trace the proceeds of crime.

The key accused in the scam, Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahender Bhardwaj, managed to escape from their residence during the search operations after taking help from Simpy Bahrdwaj, wife of Ajay, said officials.

An FIR was filed against them at the Garhi Police Station in Delhi and Simpy Bhardwaj was arrested in December 2023. Later, Nitin Gaur and Nikhil Mahajan were also arrested. All three are currently in judicial custody.

The ED’s investigation revealed that Simpy Bhardwaj along with her husband Ajay Bhardwaj and other MLM agents played an active role in luring gullible investors by promising huge returns on the investment. In order to lure such investors, promotional events were also conducted in Dubai and Macau in 2017 and 2018.

The ED also found that Nitin Gaur received the proceeds of the crime in his cryptocurrency account opened on Binance from the wallet operated by his brother-in-law Ajay Bhardwaj.

Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahender Bhardwaj are still absconding from the authorities.

With the supplementary complaint filed against the four accused in the cryptocurrency case, the ED’s investigation is expected to progress further.

Published By:

chingkheinganbi mayengbam

Published On:

Feb 26, 2024

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