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‘Bitcoin dispute’ 10 cops booked for abducting Surat builder

A special investigation team (SIT) had been formed to probe the case against the accused policemen. The 10 policemen have been booked under various IPC sections — 364-a (kidnapping for ransom), 384 (extortion)— and under Prevention of Corruption Act.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
April 9, 2018 3:54:47 am
The policemen forced Paladiya to transfer 200 Bitcoins worth Rs12 crore. (Representational)

A police Inspector, an assistant sub-inspector and eight constables were booked by the CID (Crime) of Gujarat Police on Sunday for allegedly abducting a Surat-based builder and two others and trying to extort money from them in February this year. All the ten belonged to the Local Crime Branch of Amreli district police. One more person, a Surat resident, has also been booked. Police arrested three of the accused on Sunday, including two constables.
The motive, according to the police, was to settle a dispute over transaction of Bitcoins worth Rs 12 crore.

At a press conference in Gandhinagar on Sunday, Director General of Police (CID-Crime) Ashish Bhatia said that Inspector Anant Patel, Assistant Sub-Inspector Sanjay Padmani and eight police constables — Babu Der, Umed Mehta, Suresh Khuman, Noor Mohammed, Vijay Vadher, Jagdish Jankat, Mayur Mangroliya and Pratap Der — have been booked for abducting builder Shalilesh Bhatt, his partner Kirit Paladiya and driver Mahipalsinh.

According to the police, Bhatt, a native of Amreli, had approached the Home Department on February 23, alleging that Inspector Anant Patel and other members of the Amreli Local Crime Branch had abducted him and his two associates from Koba Circle near Gandhinagar. The accused policemen took them to Keshav Farm, a farmhouse near Magodi village, where they forced Paladiya to transfer 200 Bitcoins worth Rs12 crore, it has been alleged.

“After receiving the complaint, we conducted an inquiry into the matter. Paladiya’s phone was seized and sent to Forensic Science Laboratory, Gandhinagar for forensic examination, but laboratory tests showed no conclusive evidence that 200 Bitcoins were indeed transferred from that phone on that given day… There is no evidence at this stage to suggest that the cash was delivered to Inspector Anant Patel,” Bhatia added.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the DGP said, “Bhatt had obtained Bitcoins from somebody in Surat. But the transaction was apparently not done in a very fair manner and there was dispute about it. The seller wanted Bhatt to return the Bitcoins. He approached the LCB Inspector, and the Inspector, instead, of taking legal action, sought to settle the dispute the illegal way by abducting Bhatt and trying to extort money form him,” said Bhatia.

The DGP said that a special investigation team (SIT) had been formed to probe the case against the accused policemen. The 10 policemen have been booked under various IPC sections — 364-a (kidnapping for ransom), 384 (extortion)— and under Prevention of Corruption Act.

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