Bitcoin entrepreneur Amit Bhardwaj, accused of duping more than 8,000 people of almost Rs 2,000 crore, was arrested in Delhi on Thursday, The Indian Express reported. Bhardwaj was arrested at the Bangkok airport on Wednesday evening and then brought to India, according to News18. He had escaped from the Dubai airport last week.
In March, the Enforcement Directorate had issued a lookout notice against him after he was accused of running a scam through Ponzi schemes on the website of the bitcoin company he founded, GainBitcoin. The police later traced him in Bangkok. Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla confirmed his arrest from the Delhi airport on Thursday.
The government had alleged that Bhardwaj and his associates duped investors in Mumbai, Pune, Nanded and Kolhapur among other places in Maharashtra. According to the Delhi Police, Bhardwaj had allegedly set up a multi-level marketing scam by luring investors to give him bitcoins with the promise of higher returns. He never gave the returns and instead fled the country, the police said.
RBI warns again
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India on Thursday asked regulated entities, including banks, not to provide services to businesses that deal in virtual currencies to protect the interest of consumers and check money laundering, PTI reported.
Virtual currencies “raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others”, the central bank said at a press conference.