The Navi Mumbai Police have filed a chargesheet against the promoters of crypto-currency OneCoin, accusing them of duping thousands of investors to amass Rs 75 crore. The police has also booked two Bulgarian nationals in its chargesheet, including Rjua Ignatova, the founder of the Ponzi scheme.
The Economic Offences Wing of the Navi Mumbai Police has named nearly 30 people in its chargesheet filed at the Thane Sessions Court. So far, it has arrested 23 people, all residents of Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mumbai, while three others have moved court for anticipatory bail.
In April, Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale and other officers had attended an investor seminar at Jui Nagar undercover and later arrested 15 people who organised it.
The men, the police said, had been luring in individuals with promises of huge returns on a one-time investment of Rs11,900. Investors would then be given passwords to access their profiles on the OneCoin website and could see how many coins they had been able to purchase with their money, the police said. The accused had told investors that the value of the coins would fluctuate according to the value of the Euro, said the police.
The accused had allegedly told the investors they would receive a huge payout in December 2018.
The police, however, have been unable to speak to any of the investors in the course of its probe. “In this sort of scheme, investors become the perpetrators as well as victims. It is clear that this is a Ponzi scheme,” said Tushar Doshi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime).
Investigations have led the police to 35 bank accounts operated by the accused in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi registered in names of varied private firms, which saw transactions of over Rs 75 crore. An police officer said that the police had been able to seize Rs 25 crore, as the accused moved away the rest of the money as soon as the arrests were made.
Doshi added that several witness statements, as well as bank statements tying the accused to the financial transactions, are part of the initial chargesheet.