• Monday, January 30, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

Indian police officer arrested over crypto kidnapping case

Representational Image. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AN Indian cryptocurrency trader who amassed a $40 million (£29 million) fortune was abducted by a police officer and seven others who asked him to transfer his bitcoin wallet to them, authorities on Wednesday (2) said, according to an AFP report.

Vijay Naik, 38, was kidnapped in the western Indian state of Pune on January 4 and asked to part with his digital fortune, along with Rupees 800,000 (£7,879) in cash.

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The report added that the man was suddenly let go the next day when the kidnappers realised that cops were after them. The perpetrators were detained on Tuesday (1).

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Among the accused was Dilip Tukaram Khandare, a police officer who has training in cybercrime investigations and came to learn about Naik’s bitcoin assets.

“We have taken eight people including a police constable who planned the abduction into custody,” a senior police officer told AFP.

The incident happened days after the arrest of several other officers who have been accused of kidnapping a man in Jaipur in the western state of Rajasthan and forcibly transferring $1.2 million (£885,090) in bitcoin from his mobile into another account, local media reports said.

Cryptocurrency remains largely unregulated in India despite growing local trading platforms and celebrity endorsements that are attracting several new traders.

In 2018, the bitcoin market was banned following a surge in fraudulent transactions but the restrictions were lifted by India’s Supreme Court two years later.

The Indian government this week announced in its annual budget a 30 per cent tax on profits from virtual currencies and the introduction of a “digital rupee” backed by India’s central bank – the Reserve Bank of India.

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