ED questions Raj Kundra in Rs 2,000-crore Bitcoin fraud casehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/ed-questions-raj-kundra-in-rs-2000-crore-bitcoin-fraud-case-5205678/

ED questions Raj Kundra in Rs 2,000-crore Bitcoin fraud case

Raj Kundra arrived at the ED’s Mumbai office around 11.40 am and was questioned for more than eight hours.

Businessman Raj Kundra comes out of the ED office at Ballard Estate in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Source: Kevin DSouza)

Businessman and actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra was on Tuesday questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Rs 2,000-crore Bitcoin fraud case, in which the agency is probing Amit Bhardwaj of GainBitcoin company for allegedly duping more than 8,000 investors across the country.

Kundra arrived at the ED’s Mumbai office around 11.40 am and was questioned for more than eight hours. “Raj Kundra is not an investor who was duped by GainBitcoin. The ED is questioning him currently on his role in the alleged fraud,” an ED source said, refusing to share further details.

Bhardwaj, the mastermind of the alleged scam, was earlier arrested from the Delhi airport by the Pune police. Three cases of Bitcoin multi-level marketing (MLM) were registered against Bhardwaj and his firms in Pune — two at Nigdi and one at Dattawadi police stations.

“The ED called me as a witness. There is an Amit Bhardwaj, who’s involved in some scam. He had purchased a poker team from our poker league but didn’t make payment, so we expelled his team. I’ve given my statement,” Kundra said while leaving the ED office around 10 pm.

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Kundra said that Bhardwaj wanted to pay for the poker team in Bitcoins which was not accepted. “We thought he is a respectable person so we alloted him a team. His contract was terminated after he failed to make the payments,” Kundra said.

Kundra is the co-owner of Match Indian Poker League, which was launched last year.

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The ED is probing Bhardwaj and some of his associates under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

According to investigations carried out by the Pune police, Bhardwaj had allegedly set up an elaborate MLM scam by luring investors to hand him Bitcoins for higher returns. Under the scheme, investors were asked to invest one Bitcoin for a 10 per cent return with the contract being valid for 18 months.

Bhardwaj also offered another plan where he promised to help investors mine their own Bitcoins. However, he never gave the promised returns and fled the country.