The man who allegedly masterminded a bitcoin Crypto Ponzi scheme in India, Amit Bhardwaj, has offered to pay back the money – but his offer is not enough to placate the hundreds of Indian investors who were taken in by his promises of exaggerated returns on Bitcoin investments. That’s because Bhardwaj is only offering to refund their initial investment in rupees, and they are wanting the payback to match the crypto coin’s current value.
Bhardwaj stands accused of using his GBminers and Gainbitcoin operations to entice thousands of people to invest in Bitcoin, and is believed to have raked in the equivalent of more than $144million in rupees from investors attracted by his talk of huge returns. Many of these investors have since lodged complaints with the police in various Indian cities.
Bitcoin Value Has Risen Since Crypto Ponzi Started
The increase in the value of the Bitcoin since investors joined the scheme has complicated the issue for those who bought into Bhardwaj’s scheme. Some are saying that getting back the money they invested would not be enough, because of the leap in value of the bitcoins. One investor quoted by Factor Daily said they were not prepared to leave Bhardwaj to enjoy the profits.
The value issue has also been has been raised by politicians such as the Nationalist Congress Party’s Hermant Takle. In the 13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Takle also queried the police’s delay in recovering the bitcoins and capturing the remaining suspects. Responding, Assembly member Deepak Kesarkar said the police had indeed tracked down some of the money to the companies’ e-wallets, but it was harder to get back investments made outside the country.
Meanwhile police, who have been battling to recover further funds, have called in one of the country’s largest exchange platforms, Zebpay, which handled the investments and sales involved, to help them in their investigation. And, in a related move, the state of Maharashtra has announced it is to create a special unit to handle cryptocurrency cases following the Reserve Bank of India’s recent ban on crypto banking.