The Pune city police have arrested two cyber experts for allegedly perpetrating a multicrore cryptocurrency confiscation scam as police sought their help in investigating a cryptocurrency fraud that came to light in 2018. The suspects have been identified as Pankaj Prakash Ghode (38) and Ravindranath Prabhakar Patil (45).
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In April 2018, the Pune City Police had seized a racket in which several individuals were defrauded into offering lucrative returns by investing money in cryptocurrency. IPS officer Rashmi Shukla was the Pune City Police Commissioner at the time. Two FIRs have been filed with the Dattawadi and Nigdi Police Stations for investigating the fraud, under Sections 406, 409, 420, 120b, 109, 201 of the IPC and Sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID ) Act.
Police had arrested as many as 17 people in these cases and enlisted the help of cyber experts Pankaj Ghode of “Global Blockchain Foundation, Pune” and Ravindra Patil of “KPMG, Pune” for collecting technical evidence and seizing cryptocurrency. .
A press release issued on Saturday stated that “Additional Director General of Police (Economic Crimes), Maharashtra, had ordered an investigation as the role of cyber experts in seizing cryptocurrency from the accused was found to be suspicious.” Accordingly, Deputy Police Commissioner (Cyber and EOW) Bhagyashree Navtake conducted an investigation.
The release stated that “Ghode and Patil seized 241.47858055 bitcoins, 452 bitcoin cash and 94.254124 either of the accused persons. The then investigating officers had handed over the technical data of the suspects to the cyber experts…they had to show utmost sincerity and professional ethics. But Patil allegedly misused the technical data and transferred cryptocurrencies from the suspect’s national and international wallets to the crypto wallets of his and other aides, and Ghode allegedly misled law enforcement by taking screenshots from the wallet blockchain. forging during the seizure of panchanama.
He added the fake screenshots for research purposes,” it reads.
It further said that the cyber experts have not seized all of the cryptocurrencies recovered from the accused and defrauded the government by providing false information about the seizures. Thus, a new offense of fraud and forgery has been filed against Ghode and Patil. Inspector Jayant Rajurkar (42) of the crime department made a report to the cyber police station on Friday. The two accused were arrested on Saturday and brought before a court, which has remanded them until March 19. Accused Patil is a 2005 former IPS officer who left the police force after working for a few years.