Recently, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Himachal Pradesh Police arrested two masterminds behind a crypto-currency fraud worth millions of dollars in Palampur. The suspects, Hemraj Rajput and Sukhdev Thakur, were hiding in a farmhouse in Bhojda village, Gir Somnath District, Gujarat. Both the suspects come from Mandi District in Himachal Pradesh and were arrested on Monday with the help of the Gujarat Police.
The fraudsters had allegedly defrauded 18 crore people by promising them to double their earnings by investing in cryptocurrency. The key perpetrators of this crypto currency fraud were identified as Rajput and Thakur.
Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu said, “We are closing in on the kingpins of crypto currency scams in HP. We have mapped their assets and are conducting financial investigation into their assets. My advice to people of the state is not to fall prey to the crypto-currency fraudsters. They cheat people with huge returns. The victims are encouraged to come forward to report their cases to the SIT constituted for the purpose.”
The SIT was formed to investigate a number of cases in the state relating to crypto currency scams. It includes DIG Northern Range Abhishek Dullar; SP, cyber crime, chairman SP Rohit Malpani; ASP, cyber crime, Praveen Dhiman; ASP, cyber crime, Mandi, Manmohan Singh; DSPs and other DSPs in various regions.
The fraud involving crypto currency in Himachal Pradesh began in 2018, at the height of the crypto frenzy. The fraudsters created their own crypto currencies – KRO and DGT – and lured unwitting investors by promising high returns in a short period of time. The Ponzi-style scheme was brought to attention by the Vidhan Sabha Independent MLA Hoshyar Singh, whose estimate of the amount swindled is over ₹200 crore.
Five people have been arrested so far in connection with these scams, however, the alleged kingpin is still at large. The fraudsters used a combination of deception, misinformation and threats to manipulate the scheme and continue to extract money from unwitting victims by manipulating their coin prices.
In recent years, cryptocurrency, which operates on networks based on blockchains and does not rely on central authorities like governments or banks, gained in popularity. Unfortunately, it has also been used for various fraudulent activities.