Former Indian Lawmaker Declared ‘Offender’ in Bitcoin Extortion Case

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A former Indian legislator who was allegedly involved in a $1.3 million bitcoin extortion case has been declared a “proclaimed offender” by a local court.

According to The Indian Express, a sessions court in Ahmedabad granted an application from the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Monday to declare Nalin Kotadiya an absconder from justice. According to Indian law, can now be arrested by any resident and is banned from leaving the country.

The decision comes after Kotadiya – a former Member of Legislative Assembly – failed to appear in court despite repeated summonses and after the CID could not reach him with an arrest warrant.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, Kotadiya’s name surfaced when the CID started investigating the case in which businessman Shailash Bhatt accused 10 policemen of extorting 200 bitcoin (then worth around $1.7 million) from him by force in February.

According to the new report, Kotadiya is believed by the CID to have helped the police officers kidnap Bhatt.

In an intriguing twist to the tale, the CID is also accusing the apparent victim, Bhatt, and an associate, Kirit Paladiya, of extorting around $22 million – including cash and over 2,000 bitcoin – at gunpoint from a member of BitConnect, an alleged bitcoin Ponzi scheme which reportedly closed in India in January. Another report said Bhatt had previously invested in the scheme.

Indian police image via Shutterstock

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