Court declares ex-MLA absconder in bitcoin case

Court declares ex-MLA absconder in bitcoin case

Reuters file photo for representation.

The Ahmedabad sessions court on Monday agreed to the plea moved by CID (Crime) to declare Nalin Kotadia, former BJP legislator from Dhari in Saurashtra region, as “absconder” in the Rs 12-crore bitcoin extortion case. The court also ordered Kotadia to appear before the investigating agency within 30 days.

Kotadia is accused of being one of the conspirators in the Bitcoin extortion case, wherein a Surat-based real estate developer Shailesh Bhatt filed a complaint that a conspiracy was hatched to kidnap him and extort bitcoins worth Rs 12 crore. As per his complaint, meetings were held at the circuit houses in Surat and Gandhinagar to hatch the conspiracy and was attended by Kotadia. Bhatt had alleged that policemen from Amreli had kidnapped him and his business partner Kirit Paladia from Gandhinagar on February 9 and extorted Rs 12-crore in bitcoins that were in possession of Paladia.

Kotadia was later booked under various sections of IPC for kidnapping and extortion, after his alleged role emerged during investigation. The CID (Crime) was also granted a search warrant to arrest Kotadia. The police visited Kotadia’s houses in Amreli and Dhari, as well as several other places. The Bureau of Immigration had also issued a look-out notice against the former MLA so that he does not fly out of the country. Despite all the efforts, CID had failed to nab Kotadia who had gone in to hiding and released a video message claiming that he could be killed in an encounter!

The CID had accordingly filed an application in the court, claiming that it had clinching evidence against Kotadia and requested the court to declare Kotadia an absconder under Section 82 of the CrPC.

The that court has declared Kotadia as an absconder, Kotadia needs to appear before CID as failure to do so would see the investigative agency initiate proceedings to attach properties of Kotadia.