Bitcoin scam: Kundra claims ED summoned him as witness

Bitcoin scam: Kundra claims ED summoned him as witness

Businessman Raj Kundra comes out of the Enforcement Directorate office, in Mumbai on Tuesday. (PTI file photo)

Businessman Raj Kundra on Wednesday claimed that he had appeared as a witness before the Enforcement Directorate that is investigating the Rs 2,000 crore bitcoin scam.

On Tuesday, Kundra, a celebrity and a regular in Page 3 circles of Mumbai, appeared before the ED office in Mumbai, where, according to reports, he was grilled for several hours.

“I was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate merely as a witness. An enquiry is underway by the regulatory authorities concerned and I stand committed to extending all cooperation to the law enforcement agency,” he said.

A businessman with interest in sports, this is not Kundra’s first brush with the law. In the past, he had appeared before authorities on investments in Rajasthan Royals. Some team members also got entangled in the spot-fixing scandal.

Kundra said: “I am terribly disappointed by the irresponsible reporting carried out by some sections of the media. Clarity on the issue should have been sought before carrying such headlines. The authorities summoned me merely as a witness as the accused Amit Bharadwaj happens to be an acquaintance and some introductions were made hence there is a certain protocol being followed by the agencies.”

He went on to add that Bharadwaj was intending to buy a team in the poker league and got into a contract for the same.

“However, he (Bharadwaj) was expelled on account of non-payment of fees and I was called as a witness in this connection. While we continuously strive to keep taking steps to improve our reputation, these type of unconfirmed, baseless, reports severely dent our market perception and erode investor sentiments”.

“Notwithstanding what has happened, at Viaan Industries, we shall continue to focus on growing our gaming and media vertical. We remain excited about the company’s future and strive to keep adding shareholder value,” Kundra said.

It may be recalled, the ED, some time ago, had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against bitcoin-based investment website GainBitcoin, its founder Bhardwaj and eight others. It is alleged that about 8,000 investors lost about Rs 2,000 crore funds by transacting in this scheme.

The Pune Police arrested Bhardwaj and his brother Vivek.