The Gujarat CID (crime) team probing the bitcoin extortion case has arrested Amreli Superintendent of Police Jagdish Patel, whose role in the alleged kidnapping of Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhat and extorting of 200 bitcoins worth ₹12 crore from him was under the agency’s scanner. Mr. Patel was taken into custody from his official residence in Amreli district on Sunday and was brought to Gandhinagar, where top officials interrogated him. He was placed under arrest on Monday after a medical check-up at Civil Hospital. A senior official told The Hindu that the agency was set to expand the scope of probe in the high-profile case. Top officials said a former legislator of the Gujarat Parivartan Party was also on the radar and was likely to be summoned for interrogation in the next few days. “The then MLA played a role of a fixer in the entire episode and we will soon call him after custodial interrogation of the Amreli SP,” a senior official in the agency said.Key accusedThe detention of Mr. Jagdish Patel came after the arrest of police inspector Anant Patel, who was the key accused in the case.Mr. Anant Patel was the Inspector in local Crime Branch in Amreli under Mr. Jagdish Patel, who is the SP there. He is accused of extorting bitcoins worth crores of rupees and cash from Mr. Bhatt.Besides Mr. Anant Patel, nine other policemen and a middleman from Amreli had been made accused in the case. Earlier, two constables and the middleman were arrested by the probe agency.On April 8, the CID-Crime registered a case against Mr. Anant Patel and others for allegedly kidnapping Mr. Bhatt and extorting bitcoins, a popular crypto-currency, and some cash from him.Abducted near hotelMr. Bhatt, in his complaint, had alleged he was kidnapped from near a hotel in Gandhinagar by the accused policemen on February 9.The realtor had claimed he was taken to a farmhouse near the State capital where Mr. Anant Patel beat him and forced him to digitally transfer 200 bitcoins worth ₹ 12 crore. Police had earlier said they were verifying Mr. Bhatt’s claim of digitally transferring 200 bitcoins to Mr. Anant Patel from his virtual wallet on mobile. The agency has also seized around a dozen mobile phones and other digital assets.
December 3, 2019