Chandigarh, June 10 – In a well coordinated operation against the cryptocurrency fraud, Haryana Police has arrested four fraudsters including the mastermind for duping people in the name of online business involving bitcoin transactions.
Disclosing this here today, Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana, Manoj Yadava said that to commit fraud, mastermind and his associates used the name of Binance, a multi-national cryptocurrency exchange based out of China, with an intention to cheat gullible persons on the pretext of offering them huge returns if they invest money online for bitcoin business.
He informed that the issue came to light when one Pravesh, a resident of Sector-23, Sonipat filed a complaint with the Police that he was cheated by Harinder Chahal, a resident of village Madha PS Narnaud, Hansi.
Based on his complaint, a case was registered in Cyber Police Station, Panchkula under relevant sections of IPC and IT Act. Police with the help of cyber experts started the investigation and it was revealed that the accused mastermind was not alone in this fraud; in fact there are several others who were entrusted the task to lure gullible people to invest in bitcoin with a promise of huge returns. In the ongoing investigation four accused along with their mastermind have already been arrested.
The DGP informed that during the course of investigation, it was found that a man named John McAfee questioned Binance publicly on twitter with a possible allegation of a hack. Binance replied to John McAfee on the same day using their official twitter handle denying any possibility of a hack and also revealed their ‘Bitcoin wallet address’ publicly for everyone to see and check.
Taking advantage, the arrested mastermind fraudulently created a facebook account in the name of Vikas Kumar and copied the official wallet address of the above-mentioned cryptocurrency exchange Binance. On 1st October 2019, the bitcoin holding of the wallet in question stood at 1871 bitcoins which amounted to approximately Rs. 1,09,64,06,000. On 1st October 2019 he gave this blockchain address through Facebook messenger and whatsapp messenger to the complainant ( Pravesh Kumar).
The mastermind Harinder Chahal also known as Sonu Chahal duped the complainant Pravesh Kumar of Rs 15,50,000 by fraudulently showing bitcoins in his wallet which in reality belonged to the crypto-currency exchange Binance. The complainant believed in the accused as 1871 bitcoins existed in the wallet (which belonged to Binance and not to Harinder Chahal) at the time of the incident and hence got duped of his money.
During the course of investigation, it was also revealed that in reality Harinder Chahal has been found in possession of many crypto-currency wallets but none of them had any actual bitcoins or any form of crypto-currency. The wallets held non-spendable (dummy) bitcoins which were used fraudulently to trick victims into believing that the accused was in possession of bitcoins which in reality did not exist.
The DGP also congratulated the entire team of the Crime branch for their performance in busting the fraud involving bitcoin transactions.
We are collecting more information about the numbers of innocent people who have been cheated by the scammers. Efforts are being made to trace the other accused, he added.