Bitcoin scam: Man arrested for duping people to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore

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New Delhi, Jan 1 (PTI) A man has been arrested for allegedly duping people by alluring them to invest in fake cryptocurrency, police said on Friday.

The accused has been identified as Umesh Verma (60). He was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International airport when he was returning from Dubai, they said.

So far, 45 victims have alleged that they were duped of Rs 2.5 crore by the accused in this connection in 2017, police said.

A case was registered after the complainants alleged that Verma, his son Bharat Verma and others induced them to invest in the scheme of cryptocurrency being operated by the accused under the name of Pluto Exchange, they said.

The accused assured the complainants fixed return between 20 to 30 per cent of the invested amount per month. They also promised commission on introducing more clients to the business, a senior police officer said.

However, the accused persons did not give the promised return. They closed their offices and ran away. Verma changed his residential addresses frequently and finally shifted to Dubai, the officer said.

“Investigation revealed that Verma was the sole proprietor of M/s Pluto Exchange formed for the fraud. He was the authorised signatory in bank accounts opened in the name of the firm,” Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW) O P Mishra said.

Verma opened an office in Connaught Place and convinced the complainants to invest in the scheme of Pluto Exchange cryptocurrency in November 2017, Mishra said.

“The accused hosted their own website and launched mobile application Pluto Exchange for the sale and purchase of their new cryptocurrency launched in the name of ‘Coin Zarus’. They induced people to invest on the pretext of giving higher returns and assured that their value would increase manifold,” a police official said.

Coin Zarus, in the form of cryptocurrency, issued by the accused company has no legal authenticity. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already banned such types of coins and currency in virtual form, he said.

The police added that Verma was arrested in a gold smuggling case by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in December 2017.