A 37-year-old businessman from Mira Road in Thane has been cheated of Rs 33.65 lakh after he was tricked into investing in Bitcoins on the false promise of lucrative returns, police said on Monday.
Police have registered a case against two persons under section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code.
An official said the complainant came into contact with the accused persons through a WhatsApp group. In February 2022, he received a message from two persons, including the group administrator, asking him to become a Bitcoin investor if he wants lucrative returns.
"The businessman agreed and invested money. He got good returns initially, but later he suffered losses and stopped trading. But the accused contacted him and assured him that he will get guaranteed returns and demanded a 20 percent commission. Later, he saw an amount of $2,47,210 (roughly Rs. 2 crore) in his Bitcoin account but couldn't withdraw due to technical issues," the official said.
After a couple of days, he received a message that the Bitcoin application was frozen as the "contract has expired". The accused duo also became incommunicado, following which the businessman lodged a complaint with the police.
No arrest is made so far and further investigation is underway.
Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is not regulated in India and its circulation has been a cause for concern among central bankers the world over for quite a while now. The Reserve Bank of India has also cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins.
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