Raj Kundra, the husband of actor Shilpa Shetty, was questioned by officials from Enforcement Directorate in regard to his part in a bitcoin scam. The whole meeting went on for 9 hours, and officials informed that his name came out after a probe in the GainBitcoin fraud case.
One of the members of the questioning team said, “Kundra was called to the ED office and asked about his involvement in the trade, termed illegal by the government. There are few instances of the case that are linked to Kundra and hence, he has been asked to record his statement.”
He denied all the allegations and reminded ED about him being a witness earlier. The GainBitcoin fraud came to light when Amit Bhardwaj and his brother were arrested in Delhi.
They have been charged with duping more than 8,000 investors for Rs 2,000 crore. The case was registered in April against GainBitcoin as they used false and lucrative promises to attract investors.
The Briton, in his defense, said that he was summoned only as a witness by the Enforcement Directorate. He will be co-operating with the authorities as he slightly knows Amit Bhardwaj.
He added that Bhardwaj was about to buy a team in the poker league which made him contact Viaan Industries, his company that runs the tournament. The Briton currently owns the Match India Poker League through this company, in which different teams compete for the title.
After bitcoin’s value skyrocketed in December 2017, many other virtual coins have popped up to gain profits from the momentum. However, most of these virtual coins do not possess a significant value or are part of fraud schemes.
Earlier this year, the Income Tax Department was sending notices to bitcoin dealers on a daily basis that amounted to more than Rs 1 crore. The name of those dealers was submitted to the ED, and the authority started an investigation into a possibility of money laundering and fraud. It was reported that many celebrities from Bollywood might get questioned during the inquiry.
In 2017, Arun Jaitley, Finance Ministry of India, informed that the country had no regulations in regard to virtual coins and Reserve Bank of India did not authorize any company to conduct business through such currencies. The government of India has advised citizens to be cautious of crypto dealings as they are not governed by any agency. Hence, they are termed highly risky.
It is not the first time Kundra has faced a controversy. He was banned for life from any or all cricketing activities after he was found guilty in an IPL betting scandal. His franchise, Rajasthan Royals, was also banned for two years. They recently made a comeback in the IPL season of 2018 under new ownership and management.
Digital currencies do not enjoy a positive outlook from the Indian government. As of now all the activities in relation to digital currencies have been banned, and a three-month window has been given to exchanges and investors to settle their business ending in July.
The case might reveal more people from the celebrity circuit or even politics.