According to reports being released across various respectable Indian media outlets, Divyesh Darji, the head of Bitconnect India, has been arrested in Delhi following accusations that he helped facilitate illegal money laundering activities within India following the government’s recent demonetization drive.
The Murkiness Continues
As the Bitconnect case continues to unravel, further details of Mr. Darji indulging in a slew of nefarious activities continue to emerge.
For starters, it is being reported that Darji’s cryptocurrency trade outfit was registered within the UK but operated out of Dubai for reasons one can only imagine. And while Bitconnect promised its investors the world, things have taken a turn for the worst during the past couple of weeks.
Ever since the entire operation was outed as being one big scam, many of the famous proponents of this venture are now either absconding or have gone abroad to seek refuge. Some of the key personalities involved with this project include local personalities such as Satish Kumbhani, Dhaval Mavani, and Suresh Gorasiya as well as certain politicians and contractors.
“Darji was living in Dubai. A look-out circular was issued against him. The Immigration Department alerted us when he was on the way from Dubai to Ahmedabad, after which he was arrested today evening. The company came into existence in 2016, and in 2017, it launched the Bitconnect coin. It remained active till January this year. It released 2.80 crore coins, out of which 1.80 crore coins were sold to investors. The accused held seminars, events in India and other countries promising high interest — daily interest rate of 1 per cent — on investment in Bitconnect coins. The cost of one Bitconnect coin on January 16, 2018, when the company shut down, was USD 362.”
Similarly, Ashish Bhatia, DGP of the Gujrat CID, had the following comments on the matter:
“The company was registered in the UK and had an office in Surat. They launched their own ‘bitconnect coins’ soon after demonetization. They promoted the company on social media and by holding gala functions in cities across the world. They lured investors with 60% monthly interest, and incentives in the form of ‘referral interest.’ This is the same company in which Shailesh Bhatt invested Rs 1.80 crore. To recover the money, he had allegedly kidnapped Dhaval Mavani and Piyush Savaliya of Bitconnect. He had extorted 2,019 bitcoins, 11,000 litecoins and Rs 14.50 crore cash. A case was then registered with the Surat zone CID crime. We recovered 169 bitcoins and 8kg of gold from the accused.”
When scams such as these are uncovered, the crypto community as a whole is shamed and faced with pressing issues of security that need to be addressed as soon as possible. For now, the Bitconnect case should serve as a stark reminder of what miscreants can achieve when they are presented with such an opportunity.