Another Police Official Arrested In Alleged Bitcoin Extortion Plot

Nikhilesh De
Apr 24, 2018 at 01:00 UTC
Updated Apr 24, 2018 at 01:11 UTC
NEWS

Yet another high-ranking police official in the Indian state of Gujurat has been taken into custody in connection with a $1 million bitcoin extortion scheme.

According to the Hindustan Times, Amreli police superintendent Jagdish Patel was arrested Sunday on suspicion that he helped a group of police officers detain a local resident after which he was forced to give up his bitcoin. Police inspector Anant Patel, who is also based in Amreli, was similarly arrested last week and will be questioned at the same time as Jagdish Patel.

As previously reported, Anant Patel was one of 10 police officers accused of kidnapping, attempted extortion and corruption after businessman Shailash Bhatt, who alleges he was abducted, beaten and forced to turn over 200 bitcoins – an amount worth roughly $1.7 million at press time prices.

Two other locals were also allegedly abducted during the scheme, as alleged by the state’s Crime Investigation Department, which launched an investigation earlier this month following the complaints.

Anant Patel was previously thought to be the highest-ranking official related to the case, with the nine other suspects serving as constables.

But while arrests have been made, police director-general Ashish Bhatia said officials have not yet verified that the 200 bitcoins were ever transferred from Bhatt to Anant Patel.

The Hindustan Times also reported that Nalin Kotadia, a former elected official, has also been detained as a potential accomplice of the alleged scheme. It is unclear what role he may have played in the original abduction.

Police car lights image via Shutterstock