ED seeks assistance from Pune police in ₹6 crore cryptocurrency fraud case

PUNE The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought cooperation of Pune police in investigating the 6 crore bitcoin fraud case handled by the latter’s cybercrime department. The city police arrested cybercrime expert Pankaj Ghode and former IPS officer Ravindra Patil in March in the case.

DCP (Economic Offences Wing and cyber cell) Bhagyashree Navtake said, “ED officials visited Pune CP office. Informally, they took some information and will take papers in some days.”

The Pune police had taken assistance of two cyber experts to help them investigate the 2,000 crore cryptocurrency scam involving its mastermind Amit Bharadwaj and others in two FIRs lodged at Nigdi and Dattawadi police stations in 2018.

According to the latest FIR lodged against the cyber experts, the police had assigned them the task of recovering bitcoins from the wallets of the accused and shared data with them. Both Patil and Ghode manipulated the screenshots of e-wallets of cryptocurrencies in possession of the main accused and others and moved a large number of bitcoins to their personal e-wallets.

The cyber police arrested them from Pune and seized mobiles, MacBooks, hard disks, tabs, laptops, CDs, and other items from their possession on charges of stealing bitcoins.

A case under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any 1[document or electronic record), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code along with Sections 66(c) of Information Technology Act and Sections 3 and 4 of Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors was lodged at the cyber police station. Currently, the duo is in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, the cybercrime cell has issued a notice under Section 41 A (notice of appearance before police officers) of CrPC to the private company where IPS Patil was an employee.