Two cyber experts held for misleading Pune police probing cryptocurrency fraud cases

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PUNE Two cyber experts have been arrest­ed by the Pune police cyber­crime cell for mis­lead­ing the police and forg­ing evi­dence that was entrust­ed to them in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the bit­coin cheat­ing case in 2018.

The two have been iden­ti­fied as Pankaj Prakash Ghode, a res­i­dent of Tadi­wala road and Ravin­dra Prab­hakar Patil, a res­i­dent of Bib­we­wa­di, accord­ing to the police.

The two were remand­ed to police cus­tody till March 19 by a court in Pune on Saturday.

Their sus­pi­cious behav­iour land­ed on the radar of the Addi­tion­al Direc­tor Gen­er­al of Police, Eco­nom­ic Offence Wing, Maha­rash­tra who in turn had ordered an inquiry. The inquiry was thus head­ed by the deputy com­mis­sion­er of police, EOW of Pune police.

The inquiry con­firmed that the two had manip­u­lat­ed screen­shots and trans­ferred cryp­tocur­ren­cy seized from the accused in two cas­es — one at Nig­di and one at Dat­tawa­di police sta­tion in 2018.

“A total of 17 peo­ple were arrest­ed in those cas­es and the two experts had seized cryp­tocur­ren­cy (241.47858055 Bit­coin, 452 Bit­coin cash, and 94.254124 Ether) from them. While doing so, the for­mer inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer had trust­ed them with the pos­ses­sion of the data. Giv­en that the two were aware of the police’s depen­dence on them, they were expect­ed to show utmost pro­fes­sion­al­ism and dis­cre­tion. While Patil mis­used the data to trans­fer cryp­tocur­ren­cy from nation­al and inter­na­tion­al wal­lets of the accused and trans­ferred them to him­self and his part­ners, Ghode made manip­u­lat­ed screen­shots and sub­mit­ted them for inves­ti­ga­tion,” read a state­ment by the police.

The police con­firmed the crime by check­ing the KYC done on their cryp­to wal­lets in order to trans­fer the cur­ren­cy that was to be seized from the orig­i­nal accused, accord­ing to the police.

A case under Sec­tions 409, 420, 465, 468, 471, and 34 of the Indi­an Penal Code along with Sec­tions 66© of Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy Act and Sec­tions 3 and 4 of Maha­rash­tra Pro­tec­tion of Inter­est of Depos­i­tors has been reg­is­tered at Cyber police station.

Police inspec­tor Ankush Chin­ta­man is inves­ti­gat­ing the case.

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