ED questions Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra in cryptocurrency scam

Police said they stumbled upon some suspicious transactions, following which Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra was summoned.
Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty.(HT File Photo)
Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Jun 06, 2018 10:33 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

The Mumbai unit of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned businessman Raj Kundra, husband of actor Shilpa Shetty, in connection with a multi-crore cryptocurrency scam in Pune.

Police sources said they stumbled upon some suspicious transactions, following which Kundra was summoned. “We are questioning him,” said a senior ED officer, requesting anonymity. Kundra arrived at the ED zone 2’s south Mumbai office on Tuesday morning; he was questioned for over 10 hours. He reached ED office at around 11.30am and was still being questioned at the time of going to press.

The agency is investigating the money-laundering angle in the scam.

The Bollywood connection to the case came to light after ED investigations revealed that many female actors were involved with its promotional videos.

As per the police complaint, the accused, Amit Bharadwaj and his brother Vivek Bharadwaj, founders of GainBitcoin company, cheated more than 8,000 investors of around 2,000 crore between June 2017 and January 2018 through a cryptocurrency scheme, wherein they assured attractive returns on investments made in cryptocurrency. The duo was arrested in Pune on April 5.

ED sources revealed that they suspect certain bitcoin transactions between Bharadwaj and Kundra. “We are investigating whether Kundra has gained anything from it,” said another senior officer.

A case has been filed against the brothers under sections 406, 420, 409, 120 B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors Act (MPID Act), relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and section 3 and 4 of the Price Chit Fund and Money Circulation Act (Banning), at Pune’s Nigdi police station.

A cryptocurrency is a complex, decentralised digital asset that is operated using what is called blockchain technology. Unlike regular currency, there is no regulator or any control over the value of cryptocurrency. The first such currency was Bitcoin, released in 2009; now, over 4,000 cryptocurrencies are available for trade online. They are legal in some countries, but not in India.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Pratik Salunke is a principal correspondent of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He has spent a past decade covering crime and transport in cities of Mumbai and Pune. He has been covering terrorism, financial frauds and crime stories.

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