Fifteen days after receiving a complaint from a Surat-based businessman against the inspector of Amreli police’s local crime branch and others for extortion of 200 Bitcoins worth Rs 12 crore, Gujarat police’s CID (crime) on Sunday filed an FIR in the case. The FIR names 11 accused including 10 policemen for offences ranging from abduction to attempt of extortion by a government employee.
Ashish Bhatia, DGP, CID (crime), said that “the probe has not been able to establish the said transaction of Bitcoins or cash transactions of Rs 32 crore or Rs 78.5 Lakh, At the moment, three persons including two from Amreli police and a private individual from Surat have been apprehended in the case as a special investigation team has been formed for further probe,”
Money for nothing, cops’ extortion for free
Bhatia said, “The FIR has been filed on the basis of evidence found by the team so far. In his application, Shailesh Bhatt had mentioned the transfer of 200 Bitcoins worth Rs 12 crore from the digital wallet of his business partner, Kirit Palaidya, Another Rs 32 crores were allegedly paid for their release from a farmhouse. Later, Rs 78.5 Lakhs were allegedly paid to get the Bitcoins back. All these transactions mentioned in the application could not be proven.”
According to the FIR, “Anant Patel, the inspector of Amreli police’s local crime branch (LCB), along with nine police constables in three police vehicles had abducted Bhatt, Palaidya, and Bhatt’s driver Mahipal from Nidhi Petrol Pump near Koba crossroads on February 14. The cops took their captives to Keshav Farm at Magodi village near Dehgam. Patel had allegedly threatened Bhatt and Palaidya into transferring the Bitcoins and later released them early on February 15 after the confirmation of Rs 32 crore transfer.”
Ashish Bhatia said, “We checked the records and learnt that the use of police vehicles was unauthorized, The team did not follow the procedure of informing Amreli or Gandhinagar Police. The trio was released after an alleged deal. Ketan Patel, a resident of Surat, had come to Magodi at the behest of Anant Patel and played an important role in the deal.”
Ketan Patel was apprehended from Surat whereas the two constables — Babubhai Der and Vijay Vadher — were apprehended from Amreli. The trio would be arrested late on Sunday night, said investigators.
Investigators said that “Bhatt had later sent his partners, Rajesh Desai and Dilip Kanani, with Rs 78.5 Lakhs to Amreli so that Amreli police doesn’t name him in any fictitious case.”