On the 18th of October, a major cryptocurrency scam was uncovered by the Navi Mumbai police, shaking the confidence of investors in the rapidly growing crypto market. The revelation came after a Mumbai resident, who had invested a whopping Rs 6.6 crores in the cryptocurrency market, registered a complaint of being defrauded.
The unnamed victim reported that he had been approached by a female caller who quickly befriended him. With her polished demeanor and convincing sales pitch, she introduced him to the world of cryptocurrency trading. She painted a picture of a lucrative investment opportunity, guaranteeing significant returns on his investments. Trusting her words and lured by the promise of quick and substantial profits, the man invested significant amounts of money.
Initially, the returns seemed genuine, with the victim receiving around Rs 75 lakh in profits on multiple occasions. However, this profit stream soon dried up, and the investments after that yielded no returns. Alarm bells began ringing for the investor, who soon realized he had become a victim of a massive scam.
Upon receiving the complaint, the Navi Mumbai police wasted no time. They launched an immediate investigation into the matter, with the cyber police station of Navi Mumbai taking the lead. Gajanan Kadam, a senior official of the cyber police station, mentioned that the investigation had begun two months prior when they initially received a cheating complaint in August 2023.
The investigative team meticulously followed the trail of bank accounts linked to the fraudulent activities. Their persistent efforts bore fruit when they successfully seized multiple bank accounts involved in the scam. The total amount frozen amounted to Rs. 32.66 crores or an estimated $3.92 million, a sum that highlights the audacity and scale of the fraudulent operation.
As they delved deeper into the case, the investigation led the police to two primary suspects: Balu Sakharam Khandagale, 42, and Rajendra Ramkhilavan Patel, 52.
Arrests and ongoing investigations
Both Khandagale and Patel were apprehended from the Ghatkopar region of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The investigating police officer mentioned that upon their arrest, evidence in the form of mobile phones, ATMs, bank passbooks, and cheques, which were believed to be linked to the scam, was handed over by the duo. These items are believed to be connected to other accomplices in the operation, shedding light on a potentially larger network of fraudsters.
Currently, the two arrested suspects are under rigorous interrogation by the police. They hope to extract more information that will lead to the arrest of others involved in this nefarious operation. The police force has formed a specialized team to hunt down those still at large.
To ensure that the perpetrators face the full brunt of the law, the case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act. These laws are specifically designed to handle cases of fraud, especially those that involve the misuse of digital platforms and technologies.
The recent events serve as a grim reminder of the dangers lurking in the digital investment world. While cryptocurrency offers innovative financial opportunities, it is also a space rife with scams and fraudulent schemes. Investors are urged to exercise caution, conduct thorough research, and avoid falling for too-good-to-be-true promises.
The Navi Mumbai police’s quick and efficient action in busting this scam is commendable. Their relentless pursuit gives hope that justice will be served and that the culprits behind this large-scale scam will be brought to book. The case continues to develop, and the crypto community and investors alike await further updates with bated breath.