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Last Updated : Apr 23, 2018 11:00 PM IST | Source: PTI

Bitcoin extortion case: Amreli SP arrested by Gujarat CID

Jagdish Patel, the SP of Amreli district, was arrested by the CID-Crime after he was questioned throughout the day at the department's office in Gandhinagar, he said.

A superintendent of police in Gujarat was today arrested for his alleged role in extorting bitcoins and cash from a builder, making him the fourth person to be held in the case, an official said.

Jagdish Patel, the SP of Amreli district, was arrested by the CID-Crime after he was questioned throughout the day at the department's office in Gandhinagar, he said.

Patel, who was taken into custody from his residence in Amreli district last night, was brought to Gandhinagar by a team of officials of the CID-Crime, which is probing the case, the police official said.

"Amreli SP Jagdish Patel has been arrested by us this evening after his questioning. He was detained by us from Amreli late last night," Deputy Inspector General, CID-Crime, Dipankar Trivedi said.

A few days back, a police inspector, two constables, and a suspected middleman were arrested in connection with the case.

The arrested inspector from Amreli district, Anant Patel, is accused of extorting bitcoins worth crores of rupees and cash from Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt.

Besides Anant Patel, nine other policemen and a middleman from Amreli had been made accused in the case.

Though Jagdish Patel's name did not figure in the FIR, he was arrested today after his role emerged in the case, a senior officer said.

Meanwhile, Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) Shivanand Jha today ordered suspension of Anant Patel, who is in the custody of the CID-Crime.

On April 8, the CID-Crime registered a case against Anant Patel and others for allegedly kidnapping Bhatt and extorting bitcoins, a popular crypto-currency, and some cash from him.

They were booked under IPC sections related to kidnapping, extortion, illegal detention as well as under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Bhatt, in his complaint, had alleged that he and his associate were kidnapped from near a hotel in Gandhinagar by the accused policemen on February 9.

The realtor had claimed that he was taken to a farmhouse near the state capital where Anant Patel beat him up and forced him to digitally transfer 200 bitcoins worth crores of rupees.

Bhatt had also alleged that Anant Patel kidnapped him and then extorted money in the form of Bitcoins at the behest of the Amreli SP.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Gandhinagar today, Bhatt alleged that former BJP MLA, Nalin Kotadia had also played a role in the entire episode and "pressured him to pay the money as demanded by the police".

When asked about this allegation, DIG Trivedi did not rule out the possibility of questioning Kotadia, if needed.

"We may call Kotadia for questioning if needed," Trivedi told reporters in Gandhinagar.

Police had earlier said they were verifying Bhatt's claim of digitally transferring 200 bitcoins to Anant Patel.

The exchange rate of one bitcoin is over Rs 5 lakh at present, according to websites which track the prices of crypto-currencies.

Bitcoin is a type of digital money that is issued and normally controlled by its developers and used and accepted among the members of the virtual community.

The Centre has said it does not recognise bitcoin or any other crypto-currency as legal tender in India.
First Published on Apr 23, 2018 10:50 pm
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