Pune police trace 237 bitcoins siphoned off by cyber experts while probing crypto fraud 

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Navya Sharma

The two cyber experts who were detained for stealing cryptocurrency while assisting cops in two cases in 2018 have been traced by Pune police. The police claimed they were also looking into 900 bitcoin in the reports submitted by other defendants in the case. 

After a thorough investigation that began in April 2021, the Pune City police’s cybercrime unit detained two specialists, Pankaj Ghode (38) and Ravindranath Patil (45) and a former IPS officer from Jammu & Kashmir cadre, on March 12. Patil and Ghode assisted the investigative team in investigating two multimillion-dollar bitcoin Ponzi scheme cases in 2018.

Ghode and Patil were found to have siphoned a large amount of bitcoin cash from the accused’s wallet in 2018 to their own and their accomplices’ wallets. The two are set to have generated falsified screenshots of blockchain wallets to funnel the cryptocurrency. The Pune police had seized 241.46 bitcoins, 452 bitcoin cash units and 94 Ethereum from the 17 defendants apprehended in the 2018 case with the help of Ghode and Patil. 

“We have been able to trace as many as 237 bitcoins to the wallets linked with Patil, which are equivalent to almost Rs 84 crores,” a member of the current investigative team stated.

“This cryptocurrency appears to be from what was confiscated from the suspects in the 2018 instances. According to the investigation, Patil may also have been involved in cryptocurrency trading. We have seized cryptocurrencies worth Rs 6 crore, including Ethereum, Ripple, and four others. We are also looking into a 900 bitcoin difference in Ghode’s reporting at the time of the 2018 probe, which is equivalent to over Rs320 crore now”, he added.

Meanwhile, the brother and wife of Patil were denied anticipatory bail in connection with the ongoing inquiry by a Pune court on Wednesday. 

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