An Indian cryptocurrency trader who amassed a $40 million (roughly Rs. 299 crore) fortune was kidnapped by a police officer and seven others who demanded he transfer his Bitcoin wallet to them, authorities said Wednesday.
Vijay Naik, 38, was abducted in the city of Pune on January 14 and told to hand over his digital fortune, along with Rs. 800,000 in cash.
He was abruptly let go the next day when the kidnappers realised the police were on their tail, and the perpetrators were detained on Tuesday.
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Among the accused was Dilip Tukaram Khandare, a police officer who had been trained in cybercrime investigations and had come to learn of Naik’s Bitcoin holdings. Bitcoin price in India as of 11:04am IST on February 3 stood at Rs. 29.86 lakh.
“We have taken eight people including a police constable who planned the abduction into custody,” a senior officer confirmed to AFP.
The case comes days after the arrest of several other officers accused of kidnapping a man in Jaipur and forcibly transferring $1.2 million (roughly Rs. 8.97 crore) in Bitcoin from his mobile into another account, local media reports said.
Cryptocurrency remains largely unregulated in India despite burgeoning local trading platforms and glitzy celebrity endorsements attracting millions of new traders.
The burgeoning market was banned in 2018 after a surge in fraudulent transactions but restrictions were lifted by the Supreme Court two years later.
The government this week announced a 30 percent tax on profits from virtual currencies and the introduction of a “digital rupee” backed by India’s central bank.
New Rules and Taxes For Crypto Trader
Cryptocurrency is a hot financial topic in India, with several glitzy platforms and celebrity endorsements making it seem like an attractive investment. However, there are still many risks for those who invest in this market. Scams happen every day, so you have to be careful how much money goes into your account.
With the booming cryptocurrency market, it was not long before fraudsters discovered this new opportunity and introduced their types of these digital currencies to take advantage. The Supreme Court eventually banned all cryptocurrencies after a series of scandals that rocked society, but later the court lifted the restrictions after two years.
Indian Government also announced this week to apply 30% taxes for crypto traders on profits earned on cryptocurrencies. In addition, the Government also plans to launch a “digital rupee” promoted by the Indian central bank.
The decision to place cryptocurrency and NFT earnings in India’s highest tax band was met with mixed reviews from investors, who were frustrated that they could not offset losses against other income.