Criminals in India have started demanding ransom in cryptocurrency. In a first of its kind incident that was reported from Lucknow, abductors took Bitcoin worth Rs 1.3 crore from a businessman before releasing him.
The incident came to light after the police arrested the three accused – Sandeep Pratap Singh and Vijay Pratap Singh, belonging to Barabanki district, and Rajveer Singh of Hardoi district following a tip-off, according to a report in the Times of India.
Police said that the abductors knew that businessman Arjun Bhargav traded in cryptocurrency. Even the abductors had a crypto account, the police added.
According to the report, the abductors approached Arjun Bhargav of Indraprasth Grand near Kalindi Park in Vrindavan Yojana, on August 7, on the pretext of showing him a plot of land in Barabanki district. Later, they abducted him.
The police said the abductors threatened to shoot Bhargav if he didn’t transfer Rs 1.3 crore worth of Bitcoin to their account. They tortured him until he revealed the password and transferred the amount into the abductors’ crypto account.
“On the way, they tied his hands and legs and took him to a house in Barabanki where they tortured him for three hours,” said DCP (East Zone) Prachi Singh.
The victim’s wife said they even opened fire to threaten him when he resisted, but thankfully, he was unhurt.
“They opened fire when he resisted. Luckily, he was not hurt. Then they forced him to transfer the money into their account. They then transported him to Lucknow and dumped him on the roadside,” she said.
DCP Singh said that the police got a tip-off from an informer about the abductors that some miscreants had abducted a businessman in a car bearing the number plate of Lucknow High Court.
Accordingly, the police laid a trap near Kalindi Park to apprehend the culprits. The abductors tried to flee from the place when they saw the police, and were eventually arrested.
The police have recovered Rs 30,000 in cash, a country-made pistol, three live cartridges, five mobile phones, and a car from the accused.
It is yet to be revealed why the abductors demanded the ransom in cryptocurrency.