The Supreme Court has ordered GainBitcoin Scam’s key accused Ajay Bhardwaj to appear before ED and submit wallet details
Pune Police will soon file a separate application in the Supreme Court contradicting Ajay Bhardwaj’s submissions in the court
“Ajay Bhardwaj must be subjected to narco analysis test,” GainBitcoin victims told Inc42, adding that Ajay Bhardwaj has been lying to the investigators
The Supreme Court on Monday ( April 18, 2022) asked Ajay Bhardwaj, the key accused in the infamous GainBitcoin case, to reappear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and submit the password and other wallet details to the ED.
Ajay Bhardwaj had earlier filed his response in the Supreme Court, stating that since the Pune Police had seized everything from him, he was unable to share the details with the court.
Inc42 spoke to a Pune Police officer who is a part of the investigating team. The officer said, “It’s totally a false allegation by Ajay Bhardwaj. Ajay Bhardwaj never appeared before Pune Police during this entire period. How can he claim that Pune Police has seized everything from him?”
“We are in the process of filing a separate application in the Supreme Court on this matter. This will bring more clarity into the case and will expose his lies,” the police officer, who did not wish to be named, added.
On April 11, 2022 Ajay Bhardwaj had appeared before the Pune Police and claimed that he did not have any knowledge of the GainBitcoin operations. However, Inc42 accessed the Variabletech’s registration documents at Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Singapore and Ajay Bhardwaj was one of the directors of the company along with Amit Bhardwaj and Mukesh Chander Sahu.
Variabletech private Ltd was the key company that ran GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme. Similarly, another company named Norton Sales which handled GBminers operations too had Ajay Bhardwaj as one of its directors. Both the companies are currently defunct.
Hearing a petition of Ajay Bhardwaj, urging the Supreme Court to quash the cases against him, a two-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked additional solicitor general (ADG) Aishwarya Bhati, who is representing the ED in the matter, if Bhardwaj had shared the essential wallet details with the investigative agency.
“No,” the ADG said.
To this, Justice Chandrachud said, “Why have (you) not given the email and pass? You must share the details. We should dismiss it for non-compliance. SC is not a district court where you can play like this….You make a statement here and then no compliance. We are not some Tis Hazari Court where you can play like this. First comply with the order, then come here.”
On Bhardwaj’s argument that the Pune Police had seized everything, the bench said, “You don’t need hardware for sharing passwords.”
Victims Demand Narco Test For Ajay Bhardwaj And His Family
Victims from across India have alleged that Ajay Bhardwaj and his family have been trying to get away from the investigation by blaming Amit Bhardwaj, the brother of Ajay Bhardwaj, for everything related to the scam.
“If we closely look at the wallets, the transactions were still happening in 2018 when Amit Bhardwaj was in jail. These transactions were done by Ajay Bhardwaj. He is clearly lying,” multiple victims told Inc42.
Victims such as PS Sahoo and Vipin Kohli, who are also party to the ongoing case in the Supreme Court, have demanded that Ajay Bhardwaj and his family must be subjected to a narco analysis test if he fails to submit wallet details.
The victims have also demanded an SIT be set up for the investigation.
Amit Bhardwaj’s Case To Be Closed
In 2019, the ED had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the cancellation of bail of Amit Bhardwaj. Now that Amit Bhardwaj is dead due to post-Covid symptoms, the ED had requested the Supreme Court to dispose of the matter.
The Supreme Court accepted the agency’s request. However, all other cases with regards to the GainBitcoin Scam will continue.
Meanwhile, Deepak Prakash, who has been representing Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj and his other family members in the Supreme Court, recused himself from further representing Bhardwaj and family.
Prakash told Inc42, “I will, however, continue to represent the other accused in this case.”
Now that Bhardwaj is dead, there seems to be an altercation on INR 10 Cr that was deposited in the court for Amit Bhardwaj’s bail. Out of INR 10 Cr, INR 3 Cr was given by Amit Bhardwaj and the rest came from other parties. The money will be diverted through the route it came from, said Prakash.
Pune Police In Talks With Blockchain Firms To Decode Wallet Transactions And Beneficiaries
After the arrest of cybercrime expert Pankaj Ghode and former IPS officer Ravindra Patil, KPMG, which was appointed as the forensic auditor in the case by the Pune Police, was also questioned recently by the Police.
A police officer told Inc42 that KPMG responded to the Police queries, and the fraud by Ghode and Patil was committed in their individual capacities and does not seem to be connected with KPMG.
In September 2018, the Cyber Crime Cell of Pune Police appointed KPMG as the digital forensic auditor in the case. KPMG was supposed to provide imaging and analysis of the suspected mobiles and laptops and identify and analyse crypto wallets and exchanges.
However, Inc42 has learnt that the Pune Police is still looking for blockchain firms that could decode these transactions.
On being asked why the police have not appointed companies like Chainalysis and other international blockchain analysis firms, the police officer said, “They are not affordable.”
With the Supreme Court now monitoring the development, the investigative agencies are showing a greater interest in the case. However, it seems that the ED and the Pune Police are not fully equipped to handle the case. And, there is now a case of ‘affordability’ too.