New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday alleged a multi-crore scam of converting black money through ‘bitcoin’ transactions in Gujarat and demanded an apex court-monitored judicial probe into it.
Party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that a ‘Bitcoin Scam’ of over Rs 5,000 crore has surfaced in Gujarat, with some saying that it is to the tune of Rs 88,000 cr, and charged that the state’s top BJP leadership was involved in converting black money through hawala transactions.
He also alleged there were reports of the state police “blackmailing” some businessmen in Surat for “extortion” and named a former BJP MLA as one of the ‘kingpins’.
“We demand an impartial Supreme Court-monitored judicial investigation in this maze of ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’ so that the truth comes out,” he told reporters.
Gohil, who hails from Gujarat, said the “mega bitcoin scam” has been unravelled by the state police but none of the kingpins has been arrested.
He said there is suspicion of involvement of some top BJP leaders in this “massive cryptocurrency” scam and that they are “absconding”.
The Congress leader alleged that Demonetisation was used by the BJP as a cover-up to convert “their black money” into white and now this Bitcoin cryptocurrency is being used to convert their blackmoney and used for extortion from other businessmen in the state.
“Even as the BJP scrambles for answers to explain how the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB), whose director is BJP President Amit Shah, received old currency worth Rs 745.58 crore in just 5 days and how Rs 3118.51 crore were deposited in 11 district co-operative banks linked with BJP leaders in Gujarat itself, a new ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’ worth more than Rs 5000 crore has been unravelled in the state,” he said.
He alleged that this is a “multi-layered” scam where illegal hawala transactions, kidnappings, extortion of cryptocurrency, using government authorities at the behest of top BJP leaders in Gujarat has become a norm.
Gohil cited the case of one Shailesh Bhatt from whom the Amreli district police allegedly extorted 200 bitcoins (worth Rs 10 crore) and demanded Rs 32 crores in cash.
An FIR has been registered in connection with this case, he said.
He said investigative agencies have found that purported CCTV footage of the alleged police extortion were true and therefore Amreli SP Jagdish Patel and Police Inspector Anant Patel, with his accomplice police inspector and 10 constables were arrested.
The CID then discovered that the mastermind of this ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’ was none other than a BJP leader and a former MLA who is now absconding, he alleged.
He further alleged that this leader has put out a video threatening that he will expose all involved in the scam if he is arrested.
The Congress leader alleged that the CID Crime, Gujarat is trying to pressure witnesses of this case for political reasons. He alleged that it was surprising to find Bhatt as the main accused in another FIR, whereas he was the original complainant in the case.
“It is intriguing that the Modi government sends in CBI/ED/Govt authorities to hound Gujarat Congress MLAs as well as Karnataka Congress candidates during elections, when the code of conduct is on. But it does not bother to investigate this ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’,” he said. The “absconding mastermind” BJP leader made serious allegations of how top leaders of the party are linked with this entire saga of illicit money transactions, he added.
“Why did the investigation agencies not make Shailesh Bhatt a ‘complainant’ in the FIR that was filed in the first case? Why are the CBI/ED/Central authorities not investigating this ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’? Who are they sheltering? What is the cover-up?” he asked.
“If Modi government can send CBI/ED to investigate Congress leaders in Karnataka, before and during elections, what prevents them from investigating their own?,” he asked.