ED Attaches Raj Kundra's Assets Worth Rs97.79 Crore in Bitcoin Ponzi Scam
Moneylife Digital Team 18 April 2024
The Mumbai zonal office of the directorate of enforcement (ED) has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs97.79 crore belonging to Ripu Sudan Kundra, aka Raj Kundra, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The attached properties include a residential flat in Juhu presently in the name of Shilpa Shetty, a residential bungalow in Pune and equity shares in Raj Kundra, ED says.
ED initiated an investigation based on multiple first information reports (FIRs) registered by police from Maharashtra and Delhi against Variable Tech Pte Ltd, Late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj and a number of multi-level marketing (MLM) agents. These agents collected huge funds in the form of Bitcoins (worth Rs6,600 crore in 2017 itself) from the gullible public with false promises of 10% per month return in the form of Bitcoins. The collected Bitcoins were supposed to be utilised for Bitcoin mining, and investors were supposed to get huge returns on their crypto assets. "But the promoters cheated the investors and have been concealing the ill-gotten Bitcoins in obscure online wallets," ED says in a statement.
ED investigation revealed that Raj Kundra received 285 Bitcoins from the mastermind and promoter of the Gain Bitcoin Ponzi scam Amit Bhardwaj, for setting up a Bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine. "These Bitcoins were sourced out of proceeds of crime collected by Amit Bhardwaj from gullible investors. Since the deal did not materialise, Mr Kundra is still in possession and enjoyment of 285 Bitcoins, which are presently valued at more than Rs150 crore."
Earlier, multiple search operations were carried out by ED in this case and arrested three persons including Simpy Bhardwaj on 17 December 2023, Nitin Gaur on 29 December 2023 and Nikhil Mahajan on 16 January 2023. All of them are presently in judicial custody as on date, ED says.
However, the main accused Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahendra Bhardwaj, are still absconding. 
Earlier, ED had attached properties worth Rs69 crore. The prosecution complaint was filed on 11 June 2019, and a supplementary prosecution complaint was filed on 14 February 2024. The Special PMLA court has taken cognisance of it and further investigation is ongoing, ED says.
2 months ago
Finally BITCOIN PONZI scamsters are facing attachments of thrir properties ! Excellent initiative, but MORE needs to be done to get 150 CRORE BITCOINS from UKRAINE into GOI account at earliest!
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