Kingpins of multi-crore crypto currency scam amassed huge wealth, lived lavishly: Police - Hindustan Times
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Kingpins of multi-crore crypto currency scam amassed huge wealth, lived lavishly: Police

By, Shimla
Oct 05, 2023 06:36 AM IST

The special investigation team has also initiated an inquiry into the assets owned by the accused involved in the crypto currency fraud case

The masterminds of a multi-crore crypto currency scam in Himachal Pradesh amassed huge wealth, accumulated prime properties, including petrol pumps and hotels, and lived lavishly from the funds of people seeking to double their income by investing in digital money, the preliminary investigation by police has revealed.

Kingpins of multi-crore crypto currency scam amassed huge wealth, lived lavishly: Police
Kingpins of multi-crore crypto currency scam amassed huge wealth, lived lavishly: Police

The two masterminds, Hemraj Thakur and Sukhdev, both hailing from Balh subdivision of Mandi district, were arrested by the Himachal Pradesh Police from Gujarat.

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The initial probe by the police revealed that they had accumulated properties like expensive vehicles, houses, plots in urban areas, petrol pumps, brick kilns, hotels, and even properties registered under the guise of travel agencies in the names of their relatives. Police said that the accused revealed that they lived lavishly and travelled in high-end vehicles.

“The impact of this fraudulent scheme is staggering with complainants collectively reporting losses exceeding 18 crore. With more victims coming forward, this amount is expected to rise. This scam commenced in 2018-19 and continued for approximately three years. The SIT is currently handling ten such cases, with over 50 complaints under investigation” director general of police Sanjay Kundu said.

In light of the recent arrest of the masterminds, the accused are resorting to threats against the victims. The SIT police team is diligently investigating these 50 complaints, Kundu said.

The SIT has also initiated an inquiry into the assets owned by the accused involved in the crypto currency fraud case.

This multi-level marketing (MLM) scam spans various districts, including Mandi, Kullu, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, and Una, and it is estimated to involve over 400 crore.

The investigators have found that perpetrators of this scam convened a meeting in New Delhi on December 3, 2022, inviting individual investors from different districts of Himachal Pradesh. During this meeting, they requested an extension until May 2023 to return the invested money.

After the issue was raised during the monsoon session of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha by Dehra MLA Hoshyar Singh, a 13-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to investigate the larger conspiracy surrounding cryptocurrency within the state.

The SIT uncovered intricate financial fraud schemes linked to cryptocurrency investments.

The prime suspects, Subhash Sharma, Sukhdev Thakur, Hemraj Thakur, and others, all residents of Himachal Pradesh, promoted a counterfeit cryptocurrency called ‘Korvio Coin’. They lured investors with promises of high returns and exaggerated claims, manipulating cryptocurrency prices to their advantage, resulting in substantial losses to investors.

Sharma of Thunag in Mandi district is believed to be the mastermind behind this elaborate operation. Reports suggest that he had fled to Dubai several months ago.

The suspects further switched to new cryptocurrencies, ‘DGT Coin’ and ‘BTPP Token’, altering terms and values to the detriment of investors.

Allegations of threats, intimidation, and the deletion of online records and websites related to these cryptocurrencies surfaced when investors sought refunds or expressed dissatisfaction, police said.

The accused have been charged for cheating, fraud, criminal conspiracy, and money laundering under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Himachal Pradesh Protection of Interests of Depositors Act 1999, and Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act 2019.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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