The CID (crime) have arrested a close associate of the Surat-based businessman for allegedly masterminding his abduction and extorting Bitcoins from him. It also issued summons to former BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya for appearance before the CID (Crime) which is probing the case. Kotadiya, former Dhari MLA, had openly supported the Hardik Patel-led Patidar quota agitation and is also facing a case of allegedly extorting money from a city-based builder.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Crime, Deepankar Trivedi, in a press conference on Friday, revealed that Kirit Paladiya, who was arrested late on Thursday, is the “mastermind” of kidnapping and extortion, who hatched the conspiracy with the bunch of Amreli policemen. He said, “Paladiya in his statement has claimed the involvement of Nalin Kotadiya and that’s why the latter has been asked to appear to put forth his side of the story.”
Paladiya allegedly gave Rs 1.32 crore to accused Amreli policemen, led by District Superintendent of Police Jagdish Patel. Paladiya is the 15th accused in the case out of which nine have been arrested so far. He was produced before the sessions court in Ahmedabad, which sent him to CID custody till May 10 for further questioning. CID officers told the court that Paladiya is required to be interrogated to find out “major financial deals” and its beneficiaries.
Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt, the complainant, has alleged that on February 11, he was abducted from Nidhi petrol pump in Gandhinagar by a group of policemen, led by Amreli Local Crime Branch police inspector Anant Patel.
The policemen took Bhatt, his friend Paladiya and his driver to Keshav Farm. Bhatt and two others were confined for more than five hours in the farmhouse where they were beaten up by policemen. Bhatt has alleged in the complaint that policemen forced him to transfer cryptocurrency Bitcoins worth over Rs 12 crore to accused policemen. According to Bhatt’s complaint, Paladiya transferred the digit currency following the threats of the policemen.
“The 176 Bitcoins were never transferred to anyone and it remained with Paladiya. The whole episode was orchestrated by Paladiya and accused policemen,” Trivedi said. The CID, in the remand application, has said that in the beginning of the offence, Shailesh Bhatt deposited 11,000 Lightcoin (equivalent to 166 Bitcoins) with Paladiya’s account in Binance exchange. For this, Bhatt transferred 10 Bitcoins in Paladiya’s account. Thus, Paladiya had 176 Bitcoins in his account which belonged to Bhatt.
According to Trivedi, who is heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe this case, “After the incident, Paladiya gave 15 per cent of the amount roughly Rs 1.32 crore to accused policemen and 15 per cent to another set of co-accused, while he kept the rest.” He said that so far only Rs 2 lakh cash has been recovered from the police while probe is on to find more from angadia firms.
On the role of Kotadiya, DIG Trivedi said that some of the co-accused, including Paladiya, have revealed his role which needs to be corroborated. It has been alleged that Kotadiya knew about the alleged “conspiracy” since the beginning. Kotadiya had met Paladiya before and after the kidnapping. He said that summons was issued Thursday and a team also went to his house but he was not found. He said that Kotadiya has become incommunicado. He was supposed to appear before the CID on Friday.