Business Standard

CBI ready to investigate Bitcoin scam


IANS New Delhi
The CBI on Friday submitted before the Supreme Court that the agency is ready to investigate the Bitcoin scam wherein several investors across the country have claimed to be duped by the promise of high-financial returns.
The CBI's response came before a vacation bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna, which was conducting a hearing on the bail plea filed by an accused. The court scheduled the hearing in the first week of July.
The counsel appearing for the accused informed the bench that there are many FIRs registered against him and that he has moved the apex court seeking bail in three cases, although in other cases he has been granted bail.
The counsel also informed the court the main accused in the alleged cryptocurrency scam is on bail already, but his client has been behind bars for over a year. The counsel submitted before the court that the CBI should take over the probe, as the cases filed against him across the country would be consolidated under one investigating agency.
The court queried the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Centre. Mehta making an oral submission before the court said the CBI is ready to lead the investigation. Government sources said the CBI has already made initial preparations to investigate the financial fraud.
Bitcoin or cryptocurrency has been blamed for "simplifying financial frauds" in the Indian markets. According to a circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India last year, Bitcoin and any other form of cryptocurrency trading has been banned in India.
A crypto community representing the India chapter had moved the court against this central bank circular, and pointed out that Bitcoin is booming across the globe. Since July 2018, the issue is pending before the top court. The next hearing is scheduled in July 2019.
The accused's counsel submitted before the court that one petition should be treated for all the cases registered against him. The court observed that it is of prima facie opinion that for every FIR registered, the accused should separately file a petition.
The court has asked the CBI's counsel and the counsel for the Maharashtra government along with other state governments to file an affidavit on record as a counter to the petition of the accused.
In 2018, Pune police arrested the director of a digital marketing company along with his brother for their alleged role in promoting Bitcoin.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 10:32 PM IST

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