Bank of Maharashtra demands Anti-Bitcoin Action

Another Bitcoin controversy came in recently from Pune, Maharashtra. Four persons in just 49 days hacked the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) app of Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) and successfully withdrew Rs 6.14 crore (approx $1 million) from several accounts of 23 branches in Pune district, and invested the amount in Bitcoins .The investment in Bitcoin was made through three companies based in Ahmedabad, Gujrat.
As a result, the Bank Of Maharashtra has now filed an application in the court and demanded an action against Bitcoin Companies. Apart from this, it has also requested the government to provide some clarity on the present status of Bitcoin from legal point of view.

One of the prime accused of out of four, had formed a chain-like a multi-level marketing (MLM) system and approached farmers from Narayangoan and Junnar. He took their SIM cards, which were linked with account numbers of Bank of Maharashtra on the pretext that they will be provided monthly funds from Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. In this way, they used the UPI app to commit the offence. The culprits exploited a bug in the bank’s UPI app, developed by Mumbai-based InfrasoftTech. The accused also used real time gross settlement (RTGS) to send money received into another account

Police have now frozen all three accounts of the companies on debit side which were involved in the transactions of Bitcoin namely Zeb IT Services Pvt Ltd, Oracle Retail Pvt Ltd and Milton Medocore Pvt Ltd — all in Ahmedabad. The cybercrime cell of Pune police recovered Rs 4.58 crore from the accused.

Advocate representing Zeb IT services responded that “The users can only do transactions on Zebpay ( the mobile app through which users can sale/purchase Bitcoins online) after submitting KYC documents. All sale/purchase happen strictly via bank accounts only and no cash. Hence, all transactions are recorded and easily identifiable. All these users were easily identified and we are helping the local agency to recover the funds.”

Bitcoin in India is presently not legal. Also it is not illegal. The situation of Bitcoin from legal view point is still not clear. Hence it is being used in various illegal and money laundering activities. Bitcoin controversies are rising and needs to be regularized in order to prevent these. Earlier this month, an international drug racket was busted which also involved Bitcoin. The case was reported from Gujrat which involved a CBI official too apart from the drugsters. This is believed to be the first major Bitcoin controversy in India.

Rising concerns over the legality of Bitcoin in India has forced the Indian Government to think about it. The government has already constituted an Inter-Disciplinary Committee which will examine Virtual Currencies such as Bitcoin and will give it’s reports to government in June. (click here to know more details)

Initially Bitcoin faced several criticism from several countries. But now various countries are understanding the power of virtual crypto currencies and studying it. In US and Europe, Bitcoin is being used a freely as fiat currencies. Japan made it legal recently and also introduced tax policies on it.

If India legalizes Bitcoin, it will be a huge decision and will surely affect the Bitcoin prices and market.

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