The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has frozen bitcoins worth Rs 12.83 crore as part of an ongoing money laundering probe against the promoter of a Kolkata-based mobile gaming app firm that is alleged to have duped a number of people.
Cryptocurrency worth 77.62710139 bitcoins is kept in the Binance crypto exchange and it belongs to a person named Aamir Khan who owns a mobile gaming application called E-Nuggets, the federal probe agency said in a statement.
The ED had raided the premises of the company and that of Khan and his father Nesar Ahmed Khan in Kolkata early this month and seized Rs 17.32 crore cash from there.
Aamir Khan was arrested by the detective department of the Kolkata Police from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh last week.
The money laundering case stems from an FIR filed by the Kolkata Police against the company and its promoters in February 2021. This FIR was registered at the Park Street police station based on a complaint filed by the Federal Bank authorities before a court in Kolkata, the ED had said.
The agency found that Khan had launched the gaming application E-Nuggets, which was designed for the purpose of “defrauding” the public.
“After collecting a sizable amount of money from the public, all of a sudden withdrawal from the app was stopped on one pretext or the other. Thereafter, all data including profile information was wiped off from the said app servers,” the ED said.
The accused was transferring part of the amount “illegally earned” through the gaming app to overseas locations by using a cryptocurrency exchange, the agency alleged.
“It was found that one such dummy account in the name of Sima Naskar (proprietor of Pixal Design) was opened in the WazirX crypto exchange, which was used to purchase cryptocurrencies/crypto assets. Thereafter, the said cryptocurrencies were further transferred to another account in another crypto exchange called Binance,” the ED said.
The balance of this crypto amount (77.62710139 Bitcoins) is equivalent to USD 15,73,466 or about Rs 12.83 crore kept in Binance crypto exchange and that has been freezed, it said.