The state police is still clueless about the whereabouts of former Gujarat MLA Nalin Kotadiya, who is wanted in the multi-crore bitcoin extortion and kidnapping case. The ex-legislator’s name came to the fore during interrogation of the main accused, Kirit Paladiya, the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Shailesh Bhatt and extortion of 176 bitcoins case. He was issues the first summons on May 4.
It was revealed during investigation that Kotadiya was involved in the crime and he got Rs 70 lakh of the extortion money. Paladiya, who is also the nephew of Kotadiya told CID officials about the ex-MLA’s involvement in the case. Police has recovered Rs 25 lakh of the money from Surat-based Nanku Lavaria, a friend of Kotadiya. They have yet to recover the rest of the money.
After Kotadiya skipped the first summons, he was issued summons again on May 5. The accused released a press note on May 7 claiming that the allegations against him were false and he “is innocent and is being framed by the conspirators”.
On May 9, Kotadiya faxed a letter to the CID (Crime), in which he requested the officials to not carry out the third summons since he was “out of station” and will only be able to return on May 11 or 12. He has yet to show up.
Meanwhile, CID officials carried out a search operation at 25 location in Ahmedabad, Surat and Amreli, in search for Kotadiya. The CID had also sent a team to Chandigarh after they got a tip-off that the former legislator was there, but the information turned out to be false.
On Monday, the CID submitted a report on the arrest warrant of Kotadiya to the court. The petition was heard on Tuesday and the bench is likely to give its verdict on May 17.
MAN DUPED OF 10 BITCOINS
On Monday, a complaint was lodged with the Cyber Cell of Crime Branch by a Mukund Patel, 24, resident of Shahibaug area. He stated that the three men, identified as Mehul Puraniya, Bhavik Puraniya and Viral Bhanushali had taken 10 bitcoins from him saying they will convert the same into INR. Patel transferred the bitcoins into the wallet of accused on 12 September, 2017 thinking that he will get the money, but he did not receive the money nor his bitcoins, worth Rs 29.20 lakh as per present market value.
119 BITCOINS SEIZED, TRANSFERRED TO SIT WALLET
The 119 bitcoins worth Rs 7.25 crore, which were recovered from Kirit Paladiya’s wallet, has been transferred to SIT by the CID. These will soon be converted into INR. As per officials, since the bitcoin rates change daily, is is not feasible to free them which is why the bitcoins have been transferred.
THE WANTED AND THE ARRESTED
The CID has arrested six people in the case so far including Jagdish Patel (Amreli SP), Anant Patel (Inspector of LCB), Ketan Patel (Lawyer), Kirit Paladiya (Partner of Shailesh Bhatt) and two constables. Probe revealed that Kirit Paladiya was the mastermind behind the plan. Right now Jatin Patel (brother of Ketan Patel), Naman Kotadiya (nephew of Nalin Kotadiya), Navneet (relative of Kotadiya), Dharmendra Pawar (Amreli Head Constable) and six other of Amreli Police are wanted.