As per a report in India Today, the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating one of its own officers in an extortion case. The officer under investigation was identified as Sunil Nair, who was found to be blackmailing local real-estate businessman named Shailesh Bhatt for INR 5 crore (equivalent to $700,000) for his involvement with Bitcoin.
The accused officer threatened Bhatt with legal actions from Enforcement Directorate and the Department of Income Tax if he failed to pay the amount he was asked for. The blackmailing is believed to have happened in February 2018.
Nair was threatening Bhatt with the help of his business partner who is believed to have provided the officer with the information about the involvement of Bitcoin transactions.
CBI has released a copy of the FIR filed against Nair which contained all the information related to the case. The FIR also alleged that Nair was earlier demanding for a 10 crore ransom but Bhatt negotiated with him and brought it down to 5 crores.
The Confusion around Crypto Regulation Fueling Cases of Fraud
The legality of crypto in India is still under the shroud of mystery, although RBI last April issued a circular announcing a banking ban on cryptocurrencies, which meant although cryptocurrency use was not illegal in the country, no private or government bank can offer its service to crypto offering businesses.
This created a sense of chaos as the news was reported very poorly by the Indian media some even calling it a blanket ban. Thus, it’s important to understand that without any law for cryptocurrencies, it’s difficult to hear or define crimes related to it. India has seen a rise in crimes related to cryptocurrencies in recent times.
The finance ministry recently submitted a draft bill calling for a blanket ban on the use of crypto, and there is an ongoing hearing in the Supreme court on whether RBI had the jurisdiction to issue the April 2018 circular.
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