New Delhi- The size of the GainBitcoin scam that rocked the nation some time ago is turning out to be much larger than previously thought, with reports suggesting that around 100,000 victims may have lost more than Rs 1 trillion in the scam.
With a total of 40 FIRs registered by victims (more than 13 FIRs in Maharashtra alone) and Punjab, it is possible that a large number of people from other states have also lost their hard-earned savings in the GainBitcoin scam.
Amit Bhardwaj, the mastermind who died of cardiac arrest earlier this year, may have collected between 385,000 and 600,000 Bitcoins, which is more than Rs 1 trillion.
The amount may be even higher as Bitcoin prices remain volatile and fell from their all-time high of around $68,000 in November last year to around $21,000 as of now.
Taking the current Bitcoin price of around Rs 23,57,250 per Bitcoin, the total amount comes to almost Rs 90,500 crore.
To date, the Pune police have traced over 60,000 user IDs and email addresses in the GainBitcoin case, according to various media reports.
Like most ponzi schemes, GainBitcoin also had a multi-tiered pyramid marketing scheme, with Amit Bhardwaj at the top and then his ‘Seven Stars’ who used to operate in India and abroad.
They guaranteed a 10 percent monthly return on Bitcoin-on-Bitcoin deposits for 18 months through multi-level marketing programs.
Investors were enticed to lend Bitcoins to the corporation with the promise that their investments would increase during the mentioned period.
However, since there are a limited number of Bitcoins, the model was flawed, but several investors had put their money in when they realized they had made a serious mistake.
Currently, all eyes are on Ajay Bhardwaj, the brother of Amit Bhardwaj and the main accused of the GainBitcoin scam.
In March, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) urged the Supreme Court to issue instructions to one of the defendants in the GainBitcoin scam to provide access, username and password to his crypto wallet, claiming that the question of the “legality of crypto currency” does not arise in the matter, since it is a ponzi scheme.
“The investigation carried out so far has revealed that Amit Bhardwaj (who died in January this year) with the collusion of the petitioner, Vivek Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj and others, i.e. multi-level marketers and associates, have collected 80,000 bitcoins as proceeds. of the crime”. the ED affidavit said.
The ED told the high court that the petitioner’s brother died and that he is in possession of the username and password for the crypto wallets, which must be disclosed to the investigating officer. The petitioner’s lawyer stated that some of the material is in the custody of the Pune Police.
The next month, the Supreme Court arrested Ajay Bhardwaj for failing to comply with his order to divulge username and password details of cryptocurrency wallets to the ED.
Still, several crypto wallets belonging to the defendants that were used for cryptocurrency harvesting have yet to be traced.
Earlier this month, the ED raided six locations, including in Delhi, as part of a huge investigation into the alleged scam of more than 1 lakh investors.
The investigative agency seized numerous electronic devices and crucial documents, according to reports.
Numerous officers and lawyers linked to a Delhi-based law firm were also raided, according to reports. (IANS)