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Indian Police Officers Implicated in Bitcoin Abduction, Extortion Crimes


India police

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An Indian Police department has accused 10 of its own policemen for a number of crimes including kidnapping and extortion in a scheme that involved 200 bitcoins, approx. $1.35 million in current prices.

The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the west-Indian state of Gujarat has filed a preliminary FIR (First Information Report) to start proceedings of an investigation against 11 individuals including 10 policemen for allegedly kidnapping and forcing a wealthy civilian businessman, who trades bitcoin, to hand over 200 bitcoins in an extortion scheme.

According to the Hindu, the police department booked charges after receiving a complaint from Shailesh Bhatt, the victim. In it, Bhatt alleges police inspector Anant Patel and nine of his subordinate constables of using three police vehicles to abduct him, his business partner and his driver to a remote farm, detained and then beaten into transferring 200 bitcoins to the inspector. The trio f victims were released later.

An early investigation has, thus far, not been able to verify if the bitcoins were transferred from the victim to the accused police inspector, according to CID director general Ashish Bhatia, speaking to the Times of India. The official also announced the formation of a special investigative unit to look into the case.

“The FIR has been filed on the basis of evidence found by the team so far. In his application, Shailesh Bhatt had mentioned the transfer of 200 Bitcoins worth Rs 12 crore from the digital wallet of his business partner, Kirit Paladiya,” Bhatia told the publication. “Another Rs 32 crore were allegedly paid for their release from a farmhouse. Later, Rs 78.5 lakh were allegedly paid to get the Bitcoins back. All these transactions mentioned in the application could not be proven.”

However, the official did confirm that the policemen’s use of the department’s vehicles were unauthorized and that the digital wallets belonging to the victims and the suspected inspector will be looked into. A separate report by the Ahmedabad Mirror revealed that the homes and offices of nine police officers were simultaneously raided while three of the 11 accused policemen have already been detained. A search is underway for the remaining officers.

The investigation is still ongoing into the case which sees Indian police officers charged with various economic and corruption charges.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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