T he Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday summoned Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra at their Mumbai office in connection with an alleged bitcoin scam.
Kundra was allegedly summoned by ED for his suspected links with fraudster Amit Bhardwaj. There is still no official confirmation on the role of Raj Kundra in this case. Pushed as a bitcoin entrepreneur, Bhardwaj supposedly deceived more than 8,000 people to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore (approx $300 Million) from across the country.
He was arrested at the Delhi Airport in April this year. He had initiated India’s first online in 2014 marketplace which accepts bitcoin and also holds a couple of bitcoin mining operations like Gain Bitcoin & GB Miners.
Bhardwaj had reportedly included a multi-level marketing scam by tempting investors to offer him bitcoins in lieu of higher returns.
He had introduced a contract valid for 18 months, offering a return of 10%. Bhardwaj also promised to facilitate the bitcoin mining hardware to investors following which they can mine their own Bitcoins.
Failing to get them any returns, Bhardwaj fled the country and was later located by the Pune police in Bangkok. Seven others were also arrested with him.
Kundra supposedly sponsored one of the platforms held by Bhardwaj, as reported by India Today. This isn’t the first time when Kundra has landed in trouble. He had earlier admitted to placing bets in the Indian Premier League and has been serving a life ban from all cricket-related activities. In March, he filed a petition in Supreme Court challenging the ban. Rajasthan Royals, a franchise which he co-owns, was also barred for two years and made a comeback in the recently finished IPL season.
In last few months, multiple cases of cryptocurrency fraud have been reported. This happened despite the Reserve Bank of India and Finance Minister’s repeated warnings against the bitcoin trade. Earlier in April, the Central bank directed all regulated units to discontinue dealing with folks and businesses dabbling in virtual currencies.