Two persons in Bengaluru, including a cryptocurrency trading agent, have been arrested for cheating a city based businessman of Rs 3.5 crore on the pretext of helping him invest in cryptocurrency. The arrested are Piyushbhai Himmatlal Soni and Rajeshbhai Dhirajlal Soni from Gujarat. They were arrested based on a complaint filed by businessman Gowtham, 37, a resident of JP Nagar. The prime accused in the case, Kunal Anup Chandrana, is absconding. A local court had dismissed Chandrana’s anticipatory bail plea on August 10 and they were later arrested.
According to a senior police officer, Gowtham’s friend Ramesh TV claimed he made profits in cryptocurrency trading and that made Gowtham invest in the same. In his complaint, Gowtham said, “as he lacked knowledge in cryptocurrency, he sought Ramesh’s help to befriend Chandrana who claimed to be an expert.”
On May 15, Gowtham on demand transferred Rs 3.5 crore to two bank accounts provided by Chandrana to purchase cryptocurrency. However, Chandrana neither bought cryptocurrency nor returned money. When asked, Chandrana gave reasons which did not convince Gowtham. He filed a complaint with South Cyber, Economic and Narcotics (CEN) police station.
Police who gathered details reportedly called Chandrana to appear before them and then Chandrana approached a local court seeking anticipatory bail in the case. While the attempts to evade arrest were happening in the first week of August, the cops found out that Gowtham had transferred money on May 15 and 17 and traced Piyushbhai and Rajeshbhai.
On August 10, the court rejecting the bail plea said, “the investigation officer must recover the currency and record his statement.” The police said the probe is underway.
A senior police officer said there are a lot of people in the disguise of cryptocurrency trading experts luring public on Telegram and other platforms assuring to get attractive returns on their investments and many of them in the city have been conned but the cases are under reported. As many of them do not have knowledge of how cryptocurrency trading works, they believe these agents and transfer money ending up getting cheated. Cryptocurrency trading scams have been reported in India after the Supreme Court lifted the ban on trading of cryptocurrencies last year.
In March this year, a 38-year-old lecturer, a resident of palace Guttahalli who was new to the cryptocurrency world lost bitcoins worth Rs 10 lakh to a fraudster who had promised to handle his cryptocurrency account. He had shared his login credentials on Telegram mobile application and the scamster siphoned the money.
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) last year May arrested a 26 year old woman entrepreneur who stole bitcoins worth Rs 3.7 crore from a company she co-founded.