Former Indian Legislator Declared “Proclaimed Offender” In Bitcoin Extortion Case

Crime, News | June 19, 2018 By:

Nalin Kotadiya, a former Indian legislator who was allegedly involved in a bitcoin extortion case amounting to $1.3 million, has been declared a “proclaimed offender” by an Indian sessions court.

In February of this year, a team of local policemen, led by police inspector Anant Patel, allegedly abducted Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt, his friend Kirit Paladiya and Bhatt’s driver in Gandhinagar and kept them in illegal confinement. Patel allegedly forced Bhatt to transfer 200 bitcoins ($1.3M USD) as part of a ransom. Kotadiya, former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), has been accused of being one of conspirators behind the kidnapping.

On Monday, a sessions court in Ahmedabad declared Kotadiya a proclaimed offender or “absconder” under Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure with reference to an application filed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The decision came after Kotadiya failed to appear in court despite repeated summonses and after the CID could not reach him with an arrest warrant.

In India, if any court has reason to believe (whether after taking evidence or not) that any person against whom a warrant has been issued by it has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed, such court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and at a specified time not less than thirty days from the date of publishing such proclamation.

Subsequently, in an interesting turn of events, the CID last month filed a complaint against the apparent victim, Bhatt, for allegedly abducting Dhaval Mavani and extorting around $22 million – including cash and over 2,000 bitcoin. Mavani is reportedly a member of BitConnect, an alleged bitcoin Ponzi scheme which reportedly closed in India in January. Bhatt is also reported to be absconding.