Next time you fall for lucrative deals on a digital currency, think twice. This gang of crooks floated a fictitious cryptocurrency, put up a website and duped several people in Delhi and other parts of the country before crime branch got on their trail and arrested a key player. The accused, Narendra Dahiya, hails from Sonipat. Eight other members of the gang have been identified and raids are being conducted to nab them.
Joint commissioner (crime) Alok Kumar said more arrests were likely in the coming days. Explaining their modus operandi, Kumar said the gang had named the "currency" Kashhcoins and put them up for sale on its website — Kashhcoin.net. They devised a unique combination of cryptocurrency and multi-level marketing to make huge profits. They asked each buyer to add their families, relatives and friends in the chain to earn profits. For every new member added, they were promised incentives over and above their profit.
"To lure investors, they organised seminars in several cities and called eminent personalities to impress people. These seminars saw huge turnouts. Videos of these seminars were then uploaded on YouTube and social media sites. Details of those attended these events are being verified," DCP (crime) Bhisham Singh said. A Bhojpuri actor and a Bollywood actress are seen in two of the videos that the gang uploaded, police said.
On their website, the company claimed to provide "all residents of earth" with sufficient number of coins to achieve independence from other money. "There is a finite number of KASHH Coins. The maximum amount of KASHH Coin is 2,515,020,000 and, unlike money issued by government, KASHH Coin cant be affected by inflation and are impossible to counterfeit (sic)," the website says.
The website also had a disclaimer for indemnity and used complex legal language. The gang promised a return of 10% for five years to their buyers, apart from the "shooting rate" of the cryptocurrency, which they claimed would soon cross the rate of Bitcoin. The initial price of each Kashhcoin was Rs 3.5.
Cryptocurrencies sold by the gang were valued at Rs 50 crore, police said.
One of the buyers, Arun Chauhan, smelled a rat and tipped off Delhi Police's crime branch. Chauhan was duped of Rs 14 lakh, he claimed. Cops filed an FIR in August and raids were conducted in Maharashtra and Gujarat to nab the suspects. During this time, more complainants poured in. A team, led by ACP Sandeep Lamba and inspector Sandeep Malhotra, managed to track down Dahiya in north Delhi.