Ex-BJP rebel MLA in Gujarat fears 'encounter', goes underground

Ex-BJP rebel MLA in Gujarat fears 'encounter', goes underground

Former BJP rebel legislator Nalin Kotadia has voiced  fears of being killed in an encounter in the Bitcoin case, which he claims was not worth just Rs 12 crore as suggested by police but worth over Rs 240 crore.

Kotadia, who had won Gujarat Assembly election in 2012 as a  representative of Gujarat Parivartan Party led by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, became a 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.

Kotadia, who is absconding fearing arrest in the case, has in a social media post, threatened to commit suicide with his family if the complainant in the case Sailesh Bhatt is not arrested. He stated that he is being framed by a powerful lobby within government and that police appeared more interested in putting him behind bars for Rs 12 crore case, rather than investigating the bigger Rs 240 crore heist by Sailesh Bhatt and his bosses.

The case relates to abduction of a Surat-based builder, Sailesh Bhatt, who had claimed that he was forcibly 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 farm house near Gandhinagar.

The case was later handed over to state CID (Crime) for investigation. During the course of investigation, CID arrested Amreli Superintendent of Police Jagdish Patel, Amreli LCB police inspector Anant Patel, two police constables of Amreli LCB Babu Der and Vijay and a Surat-based advocate Ketan Patel.

Many twists

The case has since seen several twists. “We have arrested Kirit Paladiya who is the mastermind of the conspiracy," Deputy Inspector General of CID (Crime) Dipankar Trivedi had told mediapersons last week. The CID claimed that Paladiya stole 176 bitcoins worth over Rs 9 crore from his partner, Sailesh Bhatt, by roping in Amreli policemen to enact the entire kidnap drama. The CID said no bitcoins had been transferred to policemen’s accounts, as proven by forensic report.

The CID claimed that Paladiya was closely associated with ex-legislator Kotadia, who was paid Rs 66 lakh. They also claim to have recovered Rs 25 lakh from a Rajkot-based builder, who is said to be close to Kotadia. The CID crime in now on look out for Kotadia.