The fraudsters behind the Rs 2,500-crore cryptocurrency scam in Himachal Pradesh targeted people who received compensation for the land acquired for road projects and also offered corporate-style motivation to their top-performing agents by sending them on foreign trips, an SIT probe has revealed. The best performing agents roping in the maximum number of investors were sent on foreign trips to Thailand, Dubai and other places and about 2,000 such trips were made. A sum of Rs 3.5 crore was incurred on trips to abroad, Abhishek Dhullar, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Northern Range, who is heading the SIT, told PTI on Tuesday.
According to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the scam, several people who got compensation after their land was acquired by the government for four-lane projects in the state were lured by scamsters in Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra districts to invest their money in fake cryptocurrency, the police said. Around 4,000-5,000 government employees are among the one lakh investors who have lost money in the scheme, they added. The best performing agents roping in the maximum number of investors were sent on foreign trips to Thailand, Dubai and other places and about 2,000 such trips were made. A sum of Rs 3.5 crore was incurred on trips to abroad, Abhishek Dhullar, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Northern Range, who is heading the SIT, told PTI on Tuesday.
So far 18 persons including four main Hemraj, Sukhdev, Arun Guleria and Abhishek, four police personnel and a forest guard have been arrested in connection with the case. However, the kingpin Subash is still at large.
We are now targetting the second layer of fraudsters involved in the scam with the arrest of people who earned crores from the investment made into the scheme by new investors, DGP Sanjay Kundu had earlier told PTI, adding that there were about 70 to 80 imposters, who earned more than Rs 2 crore.
The Himachal Pradesh Police is also coordinating with the central and financial agencies and other state police, the DGP had said and added that action was being taken against the accused under the Banning of Unregulated Deposits Schemes (BUDS) Act, 2019 which has legal provision of imprisonment of ten years.
Fraudsters approached people with an investment plan related to a locally-made (in Mandi district)cryptocurrency known as ”Korvio Coin” or KRO coins. Three to four kinds of cryptocurrency were used and false websites in which the cryptocurrency prices were manipulated and inflated were created. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange through a computer network that is not dependent on any central authority, such as the government or bank to uphold or maintain it.
The accused used a combination of misinformation, deception and threats to maintain control over the scheme causing huge financial losses to the victims.
Over a thousand police personnel were also involved in the fraud. While a majority of them were duped of crores of rupees, some of them made huge gains by creating chains by roping in more investors and opted for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), and became its promoters.