A sessions court here today declared former BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya an absconder in the multi-crore bitcoin extortion case being probed by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID-Crime).Additional sessions judge P G Tamakuwala declared Kotadiya a “proclaimed offender” (absconder) under section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) in response to an application by the CID, and asked him to appear before the court within 30 days.
The court had earlier issued an arrest warrant against Kotadiya after the CID moved the court saying he did not appear before the agency despite summoning, nor could he be traced during searches at his properties.
Several policemen, including a Superintendent of Police, have been arrested in the case so far. As Kotadiya remained untraceable, even after the issuance of arrest warrant, the CID moved the court again, seeking that he should be declared a proclaimed offender.
Kotadiya, who used to represent Dhari constituency in the Gujarat Assembly, has been absconding ever since his name cropped up in the case of abduction of Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt in February and the extortion of bitcoin worth Rs 9.95 crore. The Crime Investigation Department, which is conducting an inquiry into the case, had moved court after Kotadiya failed to turn up despite repeated summons.
Bhatt has accused Amreli police officials of kidnapping him and his business partner Kirit Paladia from Gandhinagar on February 9 and extorting bitcoins in Paladia’s possession.
It was later reported that the investigation had found that Paladia had planned the kidnapping with the help of policemen, including Amreli Superintendent of Police Jagdish Patel, who has also been arrested. The reports said a team of policemen, led by police inspector Anant Patel, had carried out the abduction.