Pune: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Pune Police Cyber Crime Cell, which is investigating 27 cases of fraud involving virtual currencies, has arrested eight persons involved in cheating several people in the city.
Addressing a press conference, Commissioner of City Police Rashmi Shukla said that it is the first such case lodged in Maharashtra and the three cases were lodged at Dattawadi, Nigdi and Nanded police station.
“The suspects involved in the crime used to lure people to invest in bitcoins for higher returns and people were told that they have invested in Bitcoin currency but in reality, they were offered other cheap virtual currencies like Ether and Mcap. The difference between the value of these three currencies was earning a point for the fraudsters. As many people are unaware of these currencies and were promised higher returns, they were trapped in the fraud,” added Shukla.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sudhir Hiremath said that the accused persons involved in the case were running a multi-level marketing (MLM) fraud.
The arrested accused have been identified as Akash Sancheti from Mukund Nagar, Kajal Singhvi from Maharshi Nagar, Vyas Sapa from Bhavani Peth, Hemant Suryavanshi from Baner, Hemant Chavan from Hadapsar, Ajay Jadhav from Kalewadi, Pankaj Adlakha from Delhi and Hemant Bhope from Dhayri.
“Accused Hemant Bhope would advertise about the MLM scheme and would lure people to invest in Gain Bitcoin company. Another accused Pankaj, who is a motivational speaker, was arrested from Delhi for holding a seminar for Gain Bitcoin company,” added Hiremath. The accused have been booked for cheating and under sections of Information Technology Act, Prize Chits Fund and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act and MPID Act are slapped against the accused.
Additional Commissioner of Police Pradeep Deshpande said, “Over 8,000 people have been cheated in the MLM fraud. Also, these virtual currencies are yet to be approved by the Reserve Bank of India and people should refrain from investing in such schemes.”
Cyber experts Pankajj Ghode and Praneet Kumar helped the police in investigating the case. Police Inspector Anil Patil of Dattawadi police station said that 32 Bitcoins, 79.99 Ether coins and cash of Rs 38.96 lakh have been recovered from the accused. “The Bitcoins and Ether coins have been transferred to mobile wallet of the Pune police,” added Patil.