Indian Lawmakers Propose an Extreme 10-Year Prison Sentence for Crypto Acquisition

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Muskan Bagrecha

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According to a report by BloombergQuint, Indian lawmakers have drafted a bill supporting a 10-year prison sentence and hefty fines for any kind of crypto dealings in India. This comes hand-in-hand with the proposal for introduction of India’s official digital currency, ‘Digital Rupee’.

As per the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill’, if passed, a severe term of 10 years will be imposed on those individuals who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose of, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies, directly or indirectly”. This ‘offense’ will be hailed “cognizable and non-bailable” according to the draft bill.

The draft bill has been proposed by a panel headed by the Secretary of Economic Affairs, Subhash Chandra Garg and includes members from the central bank, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Central Board of Direct Taxes, etc.

The criteria for the determination of the punishment term will be based on:

  • Culpability of the accused
  • Actual and intended gain made, and loss caused
  • Repetitive nature of the offense
  • Harm caused to the system

The fines exacted by the individuals will be three times more than the profits made by them or thrice the loss incurred by the system. On the involvement of a corporate body, the CEO, manager, director, and all the other top executives will be taken into account.

According to the report:

“If the loss or gain can’t be reasonably determined, the maximum fine that can be imposed may be notified by the government.”

What will happen if the Bill is passed?

From the commencement of the Act, all hodlers will be expected to come clean by declaring and ditching all kind of cryptocurrencies within 90 days. The Bill aims at amending the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to extend the Act to activities like mining, holding, generating, selling, transfer and disposal of cryptocurrency. The bill also puts forward the launch of the ‘Digital Rupee’ in consultation with the central board of the Reserve Bank of India.

The Indian crypto enthusiasts have never failed to voice their opinions. Start-ups such as Flintstones Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and Kali Digital Ecosystems Pvt. Ltd. have challenged the central bank’s ban from not permitting services to virtual currency users. The crypto community of India took to Twitter, to show assertiveness on their stance through the campaign of #IndiaWantsCrypto.

Indian community stands against crypto ban

However, in response to the RTI  filed by a crypto lawyer, the RBI made a safe play by denying any kind of involvement in the crypto-ban bill as reported on Bitcoin News. The community is seeking clarity on the final ruling of a formal ban amidst all the confusion.

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