₹6,600 Crore Bitcoin Scam: ED Files Supplementary Prosecution Complaint Under PMLA; Main Accused Remain Absconding

₹6,600 Crore Bitcoin Scam: ED Files Supplementary Prosecution Complaint Under PMLA; Main Accused Remain Absconding

According to the ED statement, it is alleged that they collected a huge amount of funds in the form of Bitcoins worth Rs 6,600 Crore in 2017 from the public with false promises of a 10% per month return in Bitcoins.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Monday, February 26, 2024, 11:50 PM IST
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₹6,600 Crore Bitcoin Scam: ED Files Supplementary Prosecution Complaint Under PMLA; Main Accused Remain Absconding | FIle Photo

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently filed a Supplementary Prosecution Complaint (PC) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, against Simpy Bhardwaj, also known as Simpy Gaur, Nitin Gaur, Nikhil Mahajan, and Sandeep Kumar. The Special PMLA Court took cognizance the complaint on 23rd February.  

The accused and the complaints against them

ED initiated the investigation based on multiple FIRs registered by the Maharashtra Police and Delhi Police against M/s Variable Tech Pte Ltd, late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj, and a number of Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) agents. According to the ED statement, it is alleged that they collected a huge amount of funds in the form of Bitcoins worth Rs 6,600 Crore in 2017 from the public with false promises of a 10% per month return in Bitcoins. The collected Bitcoins were supposed to be used for Bitcoin mining, with investors expecting significant returns in Crypto assets. However, the promoters cheated the investors and concealed the ill-gotten Bitcoins in obscure online wallets. 

During the investigation, multiple searches  were conducted at various premises of entities and persons. During the searches, documents including digital records, properties were recovered and seized which includes high end cars including Mercedes GLS350D & Audi Q3.ED found that the main mastermind behind the scam is  Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahender Bhardwaj who managed to escape from their residence during the search operations due to active help provided by Simpy Bahrdwaj, wife of Ajay Bhardwaj,said the probe agency. 

Simpy Bhardwaj,Nitin Gaur and Nikhil Mahajan were arrested  and currently in judicial custody.

Findings of the ED investigation

ED investigation revealed that Simpy Bhardwaj aka Simpy Gaur along with her husband Ajay Bhardwaj and other MLM agents played an active role in luring the innocent and gullible investors by promising huge returns on the investment & cheated the public by way of committing fraud. Promotional events were conducted in Dubai and Macau during 2017 and 2018 for Gainbitcoin ponzi scheme for luring innocent investors. Further, it was revealed in ED investigation that Nitin Gaur received proceeds of crime in his cryptocurrency account opened on Binance exchange from the wallet operated by his brother-in-law and prime accused Ajay Bhardwaj, thereby helping Ajay Bhardwaj in concealing and layering of the proceeds of crime generated out of this scam.  

ED mentioned in his supplementary prosecution complaint about the  cryptocurrency  search actions which are carried out at the premises of various hawala operators closely associated with the promoters of the Gain Bitcoin scam.

ED investigation revealed that these hawala operators were using crypto currency including Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT, Tron etc. for carrying out hawala operations. ED investigation revealed complex crypto hawala transactions of both national and international nature, intricately linked to the GainBitcoin promoters wherein accused had liquidated large amounts of cryptocurrency to INR.

The main accused Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahender Bhardwaj are still absconding. Earlier, ED had attached properties worth Rs 69 Crore and has also sought assistance from foreign countries to trace the proceeds of crime.   

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