Divyesh Darji, the alleged Asian head of defunct cryptocurrency platform BitConnect, was arrested by Indian authorities at Delhi Airport on August 18. The arrest is set to provide a modicum of justice to those affected by what has been dubbed the biggest scam in cryptocurrency history.
Local news media reports Darji was arrested after his arrival at Delhi Airport from Dubai, identifying Darji as the Asia head of the BitConnect platform, which is registered in the UK and operated from the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
BitConnect Saga Continues
The arrest is the latest event in the ongoing BitConnect saga, which began with a December 2016 initial coin offering that saw the value of BCC, the platform’s native token, surge to an all-time high market cap of $2.6 billion in January 2018.
BCC values plummeted to zero in late January, however, after a series of cease and desist orders from regulatory bodies and an announcement form BitConnect that the platform was shutting down revealed the platform to be fraudulent in nature.
Darji was one of the most outspoken promoters of BitConnect both within India in abroad and has been linked to a series of scandalsinvolving prominent Indian ex-members of parliament and the extortion of 2,000 BTC from BitConnect investors.
In statements released to the Times of India, Indian State Police Director General Ashish Bhatia announced that Darji’s arrest was executed based on an existing lookout notice that resulted in the BitConnect representative being brought to Gandhinagar on Saturday.
The BitConnect platform achieved significant penetration in Indian financial markets subsequent to Reserve Bank of India demonetization action that saw the elimination of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes of the Mahatma Gandhi series, resulting in a loss of public faith in fiat currency in late 2016 and an increased interest in cryptocurrency platforms.
Bhatia noted in statements that BitConnect held an office in Surat, India, and “lured” investors with promises of up to 60 percent return on interest on a monthly basis. In addition to Bhatia’s announcement of arrest a statement from the Indian CID state that 169 Bitcoin and 8kg of gold were captured as a result of an investigation into the BitConnect case.
Indian Authorities Pursue BitConnect Leaders
Details released to Financial Express by inspector P G Narwade of Criminal Investigation Department of Gujarat police reveal that Darji’s arrest is the result of the third case currently being investigated by the Indian CID in relation to the BitConnect scam.
Indian law enforcement activities related to BitConnect includes the arrest of Surat-based builder and BitConnect investor Shailesh Bhat, who kidnapped employees of BitConnect promoter Satish Kumbhani and extorted thousands of Bitcoin at gunpoint.
The final exchange trading BitConnect tokens — TradeSatoshi — announced on August 10 that it will delist BCC on September 10, heralding the official, final death of the BitConnect token and adding it to the long list of “deadcoins”.