Indian Police Arrest Two People for Stealing Cryptocurrencies During Investigation


Lack of expertise in blockchain and digital currencies is making investigations into fraud cases not only tricky but also susceptible to new scams. In one such case, the police in Indian city Pune have arrested two persons who were hired to help the probe into a crypto fraud case registered in 2018.

What is the Case?

According to the Pune police, it hired Ravindra Patil and Pankaj Ghode to assist in the investigation of a fraud case involving digital currencies. Ravindra Patil was an officer of the elite Indian Police Service (IPS) before he took voluntary retirement and started working as a private investigator in the crypto industry. Pankaj Ghode was hired as a technical expert in crypto matters.

The case was registered in 2018, and the police had arrested 17 people, informed Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Cyber and Economic Offences Wing, Vijay Palsule.

As the police lacked technical expertise in crypto matters, they took Patil and Ghode on board for assistance.

According to the police, Patil transferred some cryptocurrencies from the account of the accused to his wallet using the technical details provided by the police to carry out the investigation.

“The role of the duo was exposed during the investigation by senior officials. Patil and Ghode used data provided by the police for technical analysis. As per the preliminary investigation, Ghode manipulated the screenshots ostensibly showing less amount in crypto wallets and submitted them to police,” Palsule said.

The fraud by the two runs into crores of rupees (1 crore is 10 million). After conducting a KYC check, the police officials were convinced that Patil and Ghode had committed the fraud. Subsequently, the police registered a case and arrested them. The court remanded them in police custody for a week to help in the investigation.

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Lack of Blockchain Expertise Runs Deep

Lack of expertise in blockchain and crypto matters runs deep among the Indian law enforcement agencies.

Recently, the Supreme Court of India asked a top government lawyer during a case hearing who was representing Enforcement Directorate if bitcoin is legal or not.

As of now, the country doesn’t have a regulatory framework for the crypto sector. This leads to cases related to digital assets framed and heard under different laws. For the agencies, the collection of evidence and proving the allegations before the court has been a difficult task. In many cases, the court grants relief or resorts to lesser punishments to the accused in absence of clear law.

As the second-most populous country with a proven edge in software development, the indecisiveness of the Indian government on crypto regulation has been frustrating for the burgeoning entrepreneurs and digital assets ecosystem.

Sandeep Nailwal, CEO and Co-founder of Polygon, recently said that lack of regulation is driving “thousands of developers, investors, and entrepreneurs to leave to countries with more friendly regulatory frameworks.”

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