Indian Head Of BitConnect Arrested At Delhi Airport

News | August 21, 2018 By:

A man who was allegedly involved in promoting the BitConnect bitcoin Ponzi scheme was arrested on August 19 at the Delhi Airport in India.

Divyesh Darji, the alleged India BitConnect head, was taken into custody by the Gudjarat Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after arriving in the country from Dubai. The Gujurat police said they arrested Darji after receiving an alert from the nation’s immigration agency.

Darji, along with other BitConnect promoters, has been accused of siphoning off about $12 billion from investors. Darji allegedly held seminars in India and other countries promising high interest – daily interest rate of 1 percent — on investment in BitConnect coins.

“[Bitconnect] came into existence in 2016, and in 2017, it launched the BitConnect [BCC] coin,” said Inspector P G Narwade of Criminal Investigation Department (CID-Crime) of Gujarat police. “It remained active till January this year. It released 2.8 crore [28M] coins, out of which 1.8 crore [18M] coins were sold to investors.”

BitConnect shut down its lending service in January of this year after Texas and North Carolina issued cease and desist orders against the company for the selling of unlicensed securities. At the time, the cost of one BitConnect coin was $362. The coins are currently valued at about $0.67.

The scam came to light in India after Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt alleged that some policemen from Amreli district kidnapped him and his business partner and forced Bhatt to transfer 200 bitcoins ($1.3M USD) as part of a ransom. Bhatt was later booked for allegedly extorting cryptocurrency and cash worth over Rs 155 crore ($22M USD) at gunpoint from two men who worked for Satish Kumbhani, one of the promoters of BitConnect.

“This is the same company in which Shailesh Bhatt invested Rs 1.80 crore,” said DGP Ashish Bhatia of CID crime. “To recover the money, he had allegedly kidnapped Dhaval Mavani and Piyush Savaliya of Bitconnect. He had extorted 2,019 bitcoins, 11,000 litecoins and Rs 14.50 crore cash. A case was then registered with the Surat zone CID crime. We recovered 169 bitcoins and 8kg of gold from the accused.”