India

Is Bitcoin trading legal or illegal, SC asks govt

NEW DELHI: Is trading in Bitcoins illegal? The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to clarify its stand on the issue. A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati, "We would like you to tell us how you are dealing with persons trading in Bitcoin and crypto currency. Is handling crypto currency still illegal in India?"
The court was dealing with a case against three brothers and their father who are being prosecuted by the Enforcement Directorate under the PMLA.
The court's question possibly arose on the proposal in the 2022-23 Union Budget on levying tax on crypto currency transactions without giving it a legal status. Bhati said the government would have no difficulty in explaining its stand on the court's query but that would be redundant as this is a case of cheating and money laundering, which is an offence under the PMLA.
She explained that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by brothers Amit, Ajay and Vivek along with their father Mahendra Bharadwaj to cheat the general public at large through the website www.gainbitcoin.com by projecting that Variabletech Pvt Ltd, Singapore, is involved in block chain and crypto currency mining technology and that it has a mining farm in China.
The SG said that it was projected to the general public that any person could purchase a small part of the cloud mining space (hash value) for 18 months through a contract made with Variabletech and can get an assured return of 10% per Bitcoin for 18 months.
"Investigation conducted so far has revealed that the petitioners in connivance with others, that is multi-level marketing agents and associates, have collected 80,000 Bitcoins, valued approximately at Rs 20,000 crore today. Though they are on bail since 2019, they are not cooperating with the investigation…," Bhati told the bench.
She said repeated summons to the accused but they are not appearing before the IO on the strength of the bail orders. The bench asked the accused persons to appear before IO as and when summoned and asked ED to file a status of probe report in four weeks and inform the court about level of cooperation in investigation given by the accused persons.

The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (https://magazine.armotion.com/)

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