Bitcoin scam case: ED attaches assets worth over Rs 97 cr of Raj Kundra, Shilpa Shetty

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs 97.79 crore belonging to Ripu Sudan Kundra aka Raj Kundra, businessman, and husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

The attached properties include a residential flat in Juhu, which is in the name of Shilpa Shetty, another residential bungalow in Pune and equity shares in Raj Kundra’s name.

The financial probe agency had initiated an investigation based on multiple FIRs registered by Maharashtra Police and Delhi Police against Variable Tech Pte Ltd, Late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj and a number of MLM agents.

It has been alleged that they had collected huge amounts of funds in the form of Bitcoins (worth Rs 6,600 crore in 2017 itself) from the public with false promises of a 10 per cent per month return in the form of Bitcoins.

The collected Bitcoins were supposed to be utilised for Bitcoin mining, and investors were to get huge returns in Crypto assets.

“But the promoters cheated the investors and have been concealing the ill-gotten Bitcoins in obscure online wallets. The probe also revealed that Raj Kundra received 285 Bitcoins from the mastermind and promoter of Gain Bitcoin Ponzi Scam, Amit Bhardwaj, for setting up a Bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine,” ED said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The said Bitcoins were sourced out of proceeds of crime collected by Amit Bhardwaj from gullible investors.

“Since the deal didn’t materialise, Kundra is still in possession and enjoyment of 285 Bitcoins which are presently valued at more than Rs. 150 Crore,” said the ED official.

During the investigation, multiple search operations were carried out in this case and three persons were arrested.

“Simpy Bhardwaj was arrested on December 17, 2023, Nitin Gaur on December 29, 2023, and Nikhil Mahajan on January 16, 2023. All of them are presently in judicial custody as of date,” said the official.

However, the main accused Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahendra Bhardwaj are still absconding.

Earlier, ED had attached properties worth Rs 69 crore. The Prosecution Complaint in this was filed on June 11, 2019, and the Supplementary Prosecution Complaint on February 14, 2024.

“The Special PMLA court has taken cognizance of the same. Further investigation is under progress,” the official added.

IANS

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