From throwing lavish parties in metros across the country to organising investors’ summit in Dubai and Macau, the multicrore Bitcoin scam mastermind, Amit Bhardwaj, even booked yachts for several days. And, all the expenses were borne by his three firms, Gain Bitcoin, GB Minors and GB 21.
Three of the 16 investors, who lodged complaints with Chandigarh Police against Amit alleging that they had been cheated of nearly Rs 15 crore, had attended the investors’ meets in November 2016. Amit, younger brother Vivek Bhardwaj and two others are in the custody of Chandigarh Police for four days.
An investor, requesting anonymity, said, “We were invited to attend the investors’ summit in Dubai and Macau. Tickets along with other documents were sent to us. When we started raising our voice for not getting the profit on our invested money in Bitcoin during the summits, Amit and his younger brother Aditya Bhardwaj assured us that our money would be returned but all in vain. Apart from India, people from China, Vietnam, Dubai, Mauritius and other countries were also present at these summits.”
Amit, Vivek, Pankaj Adhlakha and Hemant Bhope were brought on production warrants from Tihar Jail and remanded in police custody on August 23. They are being interrogated by the cyber crime cell.
DSP (Cyber) Rashmi Yadav Sharma said, “According to the statements of the 16 investors, they had purchased around 180 Bitcoins from Amit Bhardwaj. But there is a huge difference in the price of Bitcoins, purchased by the investors. One of the investors bought a Bitcoin at a cost of Rs 40,000 while the second investor purchased it at a cost of Rs 1 lakh. They were promised 10 per cent return on the total investment for the next 18 months. A few of them had started receiving returns but it was only a bait assuring them that their money was safe. Accused Pankaj Adhlakha was a motivator speaker, who urged and motivated people to invest money in Bitcoins.”
Sources said, “During interrogation, accused Amit Bhardwaj agreed to return the invested principal amount to two investors in the shape of Indian currency and refused to give them the amount equal to the value of Bitcoins at present. Currently, the price of one Bitcoin is around Rs 2.05 lakh. Earlier, the price of Bitcoin reached Rs 4 lakh.”
Amit had started his Bitcoin firm with brother Vivek at Shalimar Bagh in Delhi in 2013.
Chandigarh Police had filed an FIR against Amit and others on the complaint of Mohali resident Amardeep Singh, who had reportedly purchased 50 Bitcoins at a cost of Rs 80,000 each in December 2016. The FIR was registered at Sector 17 PS .