Former Indian Legislator Named ”Offender” in Bitcoin Extortion Inquiry

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Former Indian Legislator Named ''Offender'' in Bitcoin Extortion Inquiry

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A former Indian legislator has been found a “proclaimed offender” by the local court presiding over a USD 1.3 million Bitcoin extortion case.

As reported by The Indian Express, former member of Legislative Assembly Nalin Kotadiya failed to show up in court regarding the case, despite multiple summonses. The Indian Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was not able to serve him an arrest warrant.

The sessions court Monday in Ahmedabad approved the CID’s application to register Kotadiya as an absconder from justice, meaning any resident can make his arrest and he is not at liberty to leave India.

An arrest warrant has also been issued for Jatin Patel, who has been declared a co-conspirator.

The case

Kotadiya became a person of interest earlier this year in the CID’s investigation that saw businessman Shailash Bhatt accuse a group of policeman extorting approximately USD 1.7 million in Bitcoin in February. New reporting indicates that Kotadiya stands accused of assisting in the police officers’ kidnap of Bhatt.

The case has an additional twist, as the victim Bhatt also faces his own accusations of extortion. He and an associate Kirit Paladiya face charges of extorting a member of BitConnect at gunpoint for around USD 22 million in cash and Bitcoin.

The director general of police Ashish Bhatia further discussed the case in a statement, saying: “Bhatt and his accomplices extorted Bitcoins and cash worth a total of Rs 155.14 crore. Later, they distributed the Bitcoins among themselves. Bhatt had kept around 700 Bitcoins.”

A report from the Hindustan Times cites Bhatt as an investor of BitConnect, which was shut down in India in January due to allegations of being a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme. The article describes the extortion as Bhatt’s plot to recover his investment.

Seven constables of the Amreli district police that are allegedly involved in the case are currently reported to be on the run.


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