Indian authorities have arrested a total of 18 individuals. These 18 individuals also include four police officers.
They were arrested in connection with a $300 million crypto scam that duped approximately 100,000 people. This story has sent shockwaves through India, while investigations are ongoing.
According to findings by a Special Investigation Team (SIT), 5,000 government officials and around 1,000 police personnel are victims of the Himachal Pradesh scam. The scam reportedly began as early as 2018, and its got exposed in late September.
The arrested cops have been identified as Naresh Kumar of Samlehra village of Barsar tehsil in Hamirpur district; lady constable Jyoti of Didwin village under Barsar tehsil of Hamirpur district; Balbir Singh of Chhatrayana village in Sarkaghat tehsil of Mandi district; and Sunil Kumar Chandrani of Kalbari, Bijhari, Hamirpur
Police involved in Crypto scam
The crypto scam has gained greater attention due to the involvement of police personnel on both sides. Local officials revealed that a handful of officers even volunteered and promoted the scam.
Over 1,000 cops were involved in the scheme. Some suffered losses, while others made significant gains. More than 100 people profited around $240,000 each from the scam, while another 200 individuals made approximately $120,000 each.
This web of deception involved multiple cryptocurrencies and fake websites. There was at least one incident of a “rug pull,” where the project was abandoned after individuals had already invested in the token.
The alleged mastermind, Subhash Sharma, remains on the run. However, 18 arrests have been made. Several properties linked to Sharma have been identified and seized, indicating the widespread scale of this operation.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate is also investigating the role of five women suspected of acting as agents or promoters for Sharma. Their involvement in the scam adds yet another layer of complexity to the investigation.
Increasing Crypto scams in India
Earler this year, Odisha police busted a huge crypto Ponzi scam worth Rs. 1,000 crore ($120.6 million). Gurtej Singh Sidhu was arrested in connection with this scheme. He was the alleged Indian head of ‘STA Crypto token’.
Solar Techno Alliance (STA), claimed to be a “one-stop Solar Technologies service using blockchain technology.” It further highlights the growing concerns surrounding crypto scams in India.
The revelation of these large-scale crypto scams underscores the need for heightened vigilance and regulatory measures. Authorities and investors alike are grappling with the ever-increasing sophistication of these frauds.