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Uttar Pradesh: College students’ involvement suspected in virtual currency fraud

Probe on: Close aide of key operator held in Lucknow pursuing higher studies from a college in Allahabad, say STF officials.

lucknow Updated: Dec 09, 2017 12:44 IST
Rohit Singh
UP Special Task Force’s investigation into the bitcoins exchange fraud hints at involvement of some college students of Allahabad.
UP Special Task Force’s investigation into the bitcoins exchange fraud hints at involvement of some college students of Allahabad. (Reuters)

UP Special Task Force’s (STF) investigation into the bitcoins exchange fraud hints at involvement of some college students of Allahabad. Officials said a close associate of the racket’s key operator, Mohd Azhad alias Ashraf, held in Lucknow on Thursday, is pursuing higher studies from a college in Allahabad.

TO MAKE A FAST BUCK
  • At least six-seven more people in Ashraf’s close circles may be involved in this bitcoins exchange fraud. They are suspected to be college students who got involved in the fraud to make a fast buck, said Triveni Singh, ASP, STF.
  • The identity of one of Ashraf’s close associates is known to the STF and raids are being carried out in his search.
  • Moreover, the STF would apply for police custody remand of Ashraf to further interrogate him about other people involved in the fraud, he added.

“At least six-seven more people in Ashraf’s close circles are suspected to be involved in this bitcoins exchange fraud. They are suspected to be college students who got involved in the fraud to make a fast buck,” said Triveni Singh, additional superintendent of police (ASP) of STF.

He said the identity of one of Ashraf’s close associates is known to the STF and raids are being carried out in his search. Moreover, the STF would apply for police custody remand of Ashraf to further interrogate him about other people involved in the fraud, he added.

The ASP said the details of money transactions of some bank accounts used by the fraudsters to receive money from bitcoins’ purchasers have also been sought. These details will confirm the exact number of people who were cheated by the fraudsters and the amount collected by them.

The STF also received over half a dozen complaints related to bitcoins fraud after the media highlighted the news of the racket’s mastermind on Friday, he added.

Earlier, the police came to know about the bitcoins exchange fraud after an NCR-based Haryana businessman, Pankaj Garg complained to the STF’s cyber crime cell a few days ago. The fraudsters created user IDs on different virtual currency exchange websites and put bitcoins on sale.

They first lured traders to purchase the bitcoins at low prices and even transferred some into their e-wallets to win their trust. But when the traders demanded bigger amount of bitcoins, the fraudsters first got the original currency transferred into their bank accounts, opened on forged identities, and disappeared after withdrawing money from their account.

Read more: Virtual currency fraud unearthed, mastermind held from Lucknow

Bitcoin is a virtual or digital currency and has no legal tender value as per RBI guidelines. It uses rules of cryptography for regulation and generation of units of currency. The values of bitcoins defer time to time as per their availability and demand. It posseses value and trade just as if they are gold nuggets in your pocket. People use bitcoins to purchase goods and services online, or hold it with hope to sell out once its value increases over the year.