Police in India have a bad reputation for extortion and bribery, but in a first, the policemen have gone rather tech-savvy in their approach as they are going straight for Bitcoin. The Crime Investigation Department (CID) in the Indian state of Gujarat has accused 10 police officers of kidnapping, attempted extortion and corruption after they allegedly abducted a businessman and forced him to hand over 200 Bitcoins.
Gujarat’s CID branch filed a First Information Report (FIR) against 10 officials and a civilian “fixer” on Sunday, as reported by the Times of India. The accused include nine constables and a local town’s police inspector, whose name is reportedly Anant Patel.
The police officials are accused of kidnapping local residents Shailesh Bhatt, Kirit Paladiya and a driver referred to as Mahipal, taking them to a farmhouse, beating them and forcing them to transfer the Bitcoins, according to a separate report from the Ahmedabad Mirror. The amount involved is equal to roughly $1.3 million at current prices of Bitcoin.
The report says that Bhatt was forced to pay another third party to retrieve his Bitcoins. However, director-general of police Ashish Bhatia said an initial investigation could not verify that the 200 Bitcoins were actually transferred from Bhatt to Patel, and police would examine both citizens’ wallets for proof, according to the Times.
Following the complaint, two of the accused policemen have already been arrested while the rest have gone underground, said the Director General (DG) of the Gujarat CID.
While there have been many cases of BTC extortions across the world, this might just be the first that involved the police as accused.
Cryptocurrencies have been running a lot of bad news in India recently. The reserve bank of India has also issued a directive against Indian banks to indulge with any cryptocurrency-related business, although there’s no law implemented in India yet.