Scamster Amit Bhardwaj, who allegedly duped thousands of Indian citizens by hatching bitcoin-based Ponzi schemes, has been arrested from Bangkok. Bhardwaj is facing scam charges worth $300 million (approx Rs 2,000 crore) attached to his company GainBitcoin.
Following the arrest, Bhardwaj is being brought to Pune, highlights a Network18 report. He was holed up in Dubai for many months. To avoid arrest, he managed to stage a fake heart attack at Dubai airport. Bhardwaj is also said to have links with Pakistan intelligence agency ISI.
His arrest will give a sense of relief to many investors who fell prey to Bhardwaj plot. He is an alumnus of MGM’s College of Engineering at Nanded and in past worked with IT major Infosys. He also floated India’s first online retailer – Highkart that allowed Bitcoin-based payments. However, the company has shut down operations in 2016.
According to a FactorDaily report, Bhardwaj owns and runs a slew of companies including GainBitcoin and GBMiners. Both companies are related to cryptocurrency-based operations and happen to be subsidiaries of Amaze Mining & Research Ltd, a Hong-Kong based entity.
Interestingly, Bhardwaj had leveraged advertisement campaigns across many mainstream publications to push GainBitcoin’s offerings. Media reports hint that Bhardwaj used to lure investors by promising 10 per cent of investment value each month for 18 months.
The irresistible offer from the aforementioned companies had made several thousand people trap into multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme. MLM scheme primarily asks enrolled members to get on board a fixed number of people to invest, which gives them a cut or commission.
Besides the above two companies, Bhardwaj also founded a cryptocurrency-based product – MCAP in April last year.
Over the past 12-18 months, cryptocurrency-based investments are on rising. According to Income Tax Department, more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions have been conducted via cryptocurrency over a 17 month period.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, have been emphasising time and again that cryptocurrencies are illegal in India.