Former Indian Lawmaker Declared ‘Offender’ In Bitcoin Extortion Case

June 19, 2018 2:39 pm Published by

A local court has labeled a former Indian legislator a “proclaimed offender” after he allegedly was involved in a $1.3-million bitcoin extortion case, CoinDesk reported Tuesday.

An Ahmedabad sessions court granted a state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) application Monday declaring Nalin Kotadiya an absconder from justice, The Indian Express reported. Under Indian law, Kotadiya may be arrested by any resident and is banned from leaving the country.

The decision was reached after Kotadiya – a former member of the Legislative Assembly – failed to appear in court despite repeated summonses and after the CID could not reach him with an arrest warrant, the report said.

Kotadiya’s name was first mentioned when the CID started investigating the case involving businessman Shailash Bhatt, CoinDesk said, who accused 10 policemen of extorting 200 bitcoin (then worth around $1.7 million) from him by force in February.

According to the new report, Kotadiya is believed by the CID to have helped the police officers kidnap Bhatt.

Meanwhile, the report said, the CID is also accusing Bhatt, and an associate, Kirit Paladiya, of extorting approximately $22 million – including cash and more than 2,000 bitcoin – at gunpoint from a member of BitConnect, an alleged bitcoin Ponzi scheme which reportedly closed in India in January. Another report said Bhatt had previously invested in the scheme., Jack Durschlag

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