On Friday, the Supreme Court asked for clarification from the central government on whether Bitcoins are banned in the country. This was in relation to the GainBitcoin scandal, which involved the alleged theft of 87,000 Bitcoins worth Rs 20,000 crore. It is crucial to emphasise that the point was addressed during the Court’s oral remarks, and no written order has been issued requiring the Centre to respond.
A panel of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant was hearing a petition made by one of the scam’s defendants, Ajay Bhardwaj, who wanted to have the accusations against him dropped. “You (Government) have to make the stance (on Bitcoin) clear on whether Bitcoins are unlawful or not,” Justice Surya Kant stated.
Aishwarya Bhati, additional solicitor General for the Centre, stated, “The veracity is unquestionable in this case. They are the accused in a swindle. There are 87,000 bitcoins at stake, and the accused is refusing to cooperate with the inquiry.” The bench extended the accused Ajay Bhardwaj’s interim protection from arrest for another four weeks. It was noted that the next hearing would be held in four weeks.
Amit Bhardwaj, the accused mastermind of the GainBitcoin fraud, is Ajay Bhardwaj’s brother. He was detained in March 2018, and the Supreme Court granted him bail on April 3, 2019. Amit Bhardwaj had started a number of businesses and was well-known for his involvement in the GainBitcoin scam, an MLM (multi-level-marketing) scheme that guaranteed “10%” profits.
He set up a marketing ruse in which he enticed investors to send him Bitcoins in exchange for bigger profits. Amit Bhardwaj had broken his pledge and departed the country. In March 2018, he and seven others were apprehended by police. Last month, he died after a heart attack.