Home >Politics >Policy >ED quizzes Raj Kundra in ₹2,000 crore bitcoin scam

Mumbai: Businessman Raj Kundra was summoned on Tuesday by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning on his alleged role in a bitcoin scam. It is however unclear at the moment whether Kundra, the husband of actress Shilpa Shetty, played a role or was a victim in the 2,000 crore scam, said an ED official.

“Raj Kundra was called for questioning in a bitcoin scam, which the Thane crime branch is investigating. We are looking at the angle of whether there is any alleged money laundering in the scam," said the ED official.

Two businessmen, Pune-based Amit Bharadwaj and his brother Vivek Bharadwaj who are directors of GainBitcoin company, cheated more than 8,000 people through a crypto-currency scheme.

“The two brothers duped investors by floating an illegal crypto-currency scheme by promising investors assured returns on their investments. The two were arrested by Pune police on 5 April," said the ED official.

The ED had last month had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against GainBitcoin, Amit Bhardwaj and eight others. This was based on an FIR by Maharashtra police.

The investigation into the FIR filed by the Maharashtra police is being led by the crime branch under the Maharashtra Public Interest Depositors Act, the Chit Funds Act, and sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating and forgery.

“ED has also expanded its probe and is looking at other similar websites that have floated a crypto-currency scheme," said the ED official.

Mint had reported on 21 December that ED is examining bitcoin exchanges for money laundering and forex violations. The income tax department is also examining high networth individuals (HNIs) who invested in bitcoins and whether they have not paid related taxes.

During the budget speech finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that bitcoins and cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. On 29 December, the government had warned people of the risk of investing in cryptocurrencies, which are not backed by government fiat, and likened them to ponzi schemes.

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