Bitcoin: NBW against Guj BJP rebel ex-MLA

Bitcoin: NBW against Guj BJP rebel ex-MLA

A local court in Ahmedabad on Thursday issued a lookout notice and non-bailable warrant for the arrest of former rebel BJP legislator Nalin Kotadia in a bitcoin case.

The lookout notice makes it possible for legal authorities to arrest him from anywhere across the country and prevents him from leaving the country.

Nalin Kotadia, who is absconding for almost a month now, had about 10 days ago expressed fear of being killed in an encounter in the bitcoin case.

The case relates to the abduction of a Surat-based builder, Sailesh Bhatt, who had claimed that he was forcefully made to transfer 200 bitcoins worth Rs 12 crore from his account and also made to pay Rs 32 crore in cash. Bhatt had claimed that he was kidnapped by Anant Patel and other policemen from Amreli Local Crime Branch and kept at a farmhouse near Gandhinagar.

The CID, that is handling the case, for its part had arrested Kirit Paladiya, who it says is the mastermind of the conspiracy. The CID had claimed that Paladiya stole 176 bitcoins worth over Rs 9 crore from his partner, Shailesh Bhatt, by roping in Amreli policemen to enact the entire kidnap drama and that no bitcoins had been transferred to policemen’s accounts.

The CID crime claim that Paladiya was closely associated with ex-legislator Kotadia, who has given Rs 66 lakh of Rs 12 crore as his share. They also claim to have recovered Rs 25 lakh from a Rajkot-based builder, who is said to be close to Kotadia.

Bigger scam?

Kotadia for his part claims that the entire scam was not worth just Rs 12 crore as suggested by police but worth over Rs 240 crore. Fearing arrest, Kotadia in a social media statement earlier had also threatened to commit suicide with his family if complainant Sailesh Bhatt is not arrested.

Kotadia, who had won Gujarat Assembly elections in 2012 as representative of Gujarat Parivartan Party led by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, became BJP legislator as Keshubhai merged his GPP with BJP. He, however, turned against BJP during the last Presidential polls and on the issue of Patel quota stir in the state.

"The only option left before the accused now is to either surrender or apply for anticipatory bail," Sudhir Brahmbhatt, a lawyer representing state agencies, said.