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Gujarat crypto-currency scam: ED attaches assets worth Rs 433 crore of Divyesh Darji, others

New Delhi: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has attached movable properties worth Rs 433 crore in a money laundering case against Divyesh Darji, the Asia head of a UK-based crypto company - Bitconnect, and others for their alleged involvement in a crypto-currency scam in Gujarat.
The scam allegedly led to the syphoning of lakhs of rupees after luring people to get whopping returns on their investments.
The movable properties are in the form of cryptocurrencies, gold and cash (in INR and USD) which are proceeds of crime. The assets were attached under the provisions of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, the ED said on Monday.
ED initiated an investigation on the basis of FIRs (First Information Reports) filed by the CID (Crime) Gujarat under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Gujarat Protection of Interests of Depositors Act (GPID), 2003 and the Prize Cheat Money Circulation Scheme Banning Act, 1978, against Divyesh Darji, Satish Kumbhani, Shailesh Bhatt and other accused persons.
During the investigation under the PMLA, the ED said, it was revealed that the properties were not acquired by the concerned persons out of their legitimate income and the same were derived and obtained as the result of the commission of scheduled offences under the PMLA.
The ED investigation revealed that from November 2016 to January 2018, Kumbhani, the promoter of Bitconnect Coin (a cryptocurrency), established a worldwide network of promoters and induced the public to invest in various investment schemes related to Bitconnect Coin by offering huge returns.
As per the investigation done so far, the agency said Kumbhani and his associates had raised huge investments and cheated the investors.
"Later, a part of the proceeds of crime that were acquired by Satish Kumbhani and his associates was extorted by Shailesh Bhatt and his accomplices by kidnapping two of the associates of Satish Kumbhani," said the ED in a statement.
"The provisionally attached movable properties are a part of the proceeds of crime acquired by Satish Kumbhani, Shailesh Bhatt and their accomplices."
The main accused in the case, Divyesh Darji was arrested at the Delhi airport in 2018. Darji was returning from Dubai.
Darji, the resident of the Adajan area in Surat, has been accused of duping investors of USD 12.7 Bn through Bitconnect.in, the Indian division of the UK-based Bitconnect (.com), which was launched right after demonetisation.
Darji is also an accused in a Rs 22,000 bitcoin scam and later his name surfaced in another Rs 1,000 crore scam of Dekado coin. This is the third case in which Darji's name has been surfaced.

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