A lot of uncertainty has been brewing with respect to cryptocurrency operations in India. In this connection, a few days back, an official from the Central government assured that they are working on the regulatory framework for exchanges to operate in the country, which could be officially unveiled by this month-end.
However, according to the local news publication Hindustan Times, the Indian National Congress (INC) which is currently sitting in the opposition has accused the ruling party Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) of being involved in illicit cryptocurrency money laundering activities. The Congress has referred to this as a ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’ alleging the BJP was converting all the “black money” using the Bitcoin digital currency. This alleged activity is said to be taking place in the country’s western state of Gujarat.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil has called this a “multi-layered” scam and has even sought for a Supreme Court intervention in this matter. The estimated figures involving the scam are said to be anywhere between Rs. 5,000 crore ($763 million) to Rs. 88,000 crore ($12 billion). Worth noting that now $12 billion is a huge figure, which accounts for 10% of the total market cap. Gohil added:
“A new mega bitcoin scam has been unraveled in Gujarat. The finger of suspicion of this massive scam of illegal cryptocurrency directly points to several top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and a mastermind — an absconding BJP leader and former MLA Nalin Kotadiya. We demand an impartial Supreme Court-monitored judicial investigation in this maze of ‘Mega Bitcoin Scam’ so that the truth comes out.”
Bitcoin currently holds an illegal status in India and the multiple emerging scams in the last few years involving the digital currency is a strong reason for its ban in the country. Gohil further attacked the ruling party terming this scam as “Pandora’s box” and further stating that “illegal hawala transactions, kidnappings, extortion of cryptocurrency using CBI/police/government authorities at the behest of top BJP leaders in Gujarat is a norm”.
However note that these are just accusations and could be a part of the political rivalry in the country. Unless and until concrete evidence arrives in this matter, nothing can be said with certainty. India’s Central Intelligence Department (CID) has already started an investigation in this matter and have found some leads even involving some of police officials.
In the meanwhile, the BJP has dismissed all the allegations calling it “an attempt by the opposition party’s “dirty tricks department” to spread confusion and lies.” BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni noted:
“The Congress were laughable and nothing can be more unfortunate than this as it is the state police which has cracked the case and acted against several persons. I wonder if the Congress is trying to help somebody in this case as part of a conspiracy,”
What will eventually come out of this investigation remains to be seen, however, such reporting scams create an atmosphere of fear, unrest and doubt (FUD) in the local cryptocurrency community.