Haryana police arrests four in cryptocurrency fraud

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Police has arrested four fraudsters including the mastermind for allegedly duping people in the name of online business involving bitcoin transactions.

Director-General of Police (DGP) Manoj Yadava on Thursday said the mastermind – Harinder Chahal alias Sonu Chahal – tricked victims into believing that he was in possession of bitcoins whereas the wallets held non-spendable (dummy) bitcoins.

Chahal and his associates used the name of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, with an intention to cheat gullible persons on the pretext of offering them huge returns if they invest money online for bitcoin business, he said.

The DGP said the issue came to light recently when Pravesh Kumar, a resident of Sector-23, Sonipat filed a complaint with the police alleging that he was cheated by Chahal, a resident of Madha village in Hisar district.

According to an official statement, a case was registered in Cyber Police Station, Panchkula under relevant sections of IPC and IT Act, the DGP said.

Police along with cyber experts started the investigation and it was revealed that several people were involved in this luring gullible people to invest in bitcoin.

“The ongoing investigation, four accused along with their mastermind have already been arrested,” Yadava said.

The DGP informed that Chahal created a fake Facebook account in the name of one Vikas Kumar and claimed to show the wallet address of the cryptocurrency exchange.

On October 1, 2019, he gave this blockchain address through Facebook messenger and WhatsApp messenger to the complainant (Pravesh Kumar).

Chahal duped Kumar of Rs 15,50,000 by fraudulently showing bitcoins in his wallet which in reality belonged to the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, the DGP said.

“The complainant believed in the accused as 1,871 bitcoins existed in the wallet, which belonged to Binance and not to Harinder Chahal, at the time of the incident and hence got duped of his money,” he said. The DGP further said, “It was also revealed that Harinder Chahal has been found in possession of many cryptocurrency wallets but none of them had any actual bitcoins or any form of cryptocurrency.”

“The wallets held non-spendable (dummy) bitcoins which were used fraudulently to trick victims into believing that the accused was in possession of bitcoins which in reality did not exist,” he added.

Congratulating the crime branch team for busting the fraud, the DGP said, “We are collecting more information about the numbers of innocent people who have been cheated by the scammers. Efforts are being made to trace the other accused.”