The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday informed that it has attached assets of a Kerala-based businessman who allegedly cheated over 900 investors of Rs 1,200 crore by pretending to offer cryptocurrency to them. The action has been taken against Nishad K and his associates who allegedly manipulated several investors in the name of launching 'Morris Coin cryptocurrency'. The attached assets are worth valued at Rs 36,72,47,752.
"A provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) has been issued to attach properties that include balances in multiple bank accounts of Nishad K and his companies, immovable property including the land of an associate close to Nishad K and Indian Rupee equivalent of cryptocurrencies purchased out of the proceeds of crime by a close associate," the agency further said.
ED has attached assets worth valued at Rs.36,72,47,752/- of Nishad K, MD and his associates in the case of Morris Coin Crypto Currency Case under the PMLA, 2002 in a cheating case.— ED (@dir_ed) January 10, 2022
The ED further informed that the investors were impressed by conducting promotional events in the presence of celebrities, introducing the investors to flashy websites by the provision of e-wallets to each investor via web-based applications.
It is perhaps the first case involving Cryptocurrency in which ED has acted to attach alleged ill-gotten wealth. This comes a few days after Zerodha founder and CEO Nithin Kamath slammed several celebrities and businessmen who have allegedly been encouraging investors to bet on cryptocurrencies without giving any warning on the risks that comes with it, calling it 'disgusting.'
In a tweet, he had said, "Watching famous personalities with huge fan followings trying to trigger their fans or retail investors to invest in super risky asset classes without talking about the risks, or caring about the risk profile of those who follow them is quite disgusting."
On January 1, the Directorate General of GST Intelligence had conducted raids on half a dozen offices of Cryptocurrency exchange firms across India. According to sources, around Rs 70 crore worth of tax evasion has been detected during the crackdown on Cryptocurrency trade by Mumbai CGST and DGGI. The agency has also raided multiple firms in Uttar Pradesh linked to political parties over tax evasion.
"Around half dozen offices of Cryptocurrency Service providers have been searched and massive Goods and Service Tax (GST) evasion has been detected by DGGI. The DGGI is investigating Coinswitch Kuber by M/s Bitcipher Labs LLP, CoinDCX by M/s Neblio Technologies PVT. LTD., BuyUCoin by M/S I Block Technologies Pvt. LTD. and Unocoin by M/s Unocoin Technologies Pvt. LTD," sources told news Agency ANI.