Enforcement Directorate (ED) recorded the statement of actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband businessman
Raj Kundra for eight hours on Tuesday in a
money laundering case against
Amit Bhardwaj, accused in a
Bharadwaj allegedly cheated 8,000 people of Rs 2,000 crore with a cryptocurrency-based Ponzi scheme.
On Tuesday, ED officials called Kundra to their Ballard Estate office and questioned him, but declined to elaborate. Sources said they were trying to ascertain if Kundra was a cyrptocurrency investor or was helping Bhardwaj in money laundering.
Most of Bhardwaj’s victims are from the state, many from Mumbai and Pune. Bharadwaj (35) and his brother Vivekkumar (31), who founded Gain Bitcoin, were taken into custody at New Delhi soon after their arrival from Bangkok in the first week of April. Subsequently the ED registered a money laundering case against the duo.
While examining Bhardwaj’s transactions, ED officials came across Kundra’s name, a source said.
Kundra said he has no involvement in the scam and was called by the ED as a witness against Bhardwaj. In a statement, Kundra said, “This is to clarify that I have no involvement or connection in the Bitcoin scam whatsoever. I was summoned by the ED merely as a witness. An inquiry is underway and I am cooperating with the law enforcement agency as Bhardwaj is an acquaintance and protocol is being followed. Bharadwaj was to buy a team in the poker league and got into a contract with us. But due to non-payment, his contract was terminated. I have come as a witness to the same.”
The Kundra-promoted Viaan Industries launched Match Indian Poker League last year. During an examination of Bhardwaj’s financial transactions, ED came to know that there were instances where money had been exchanged between him and a firm associated with Kundra. Sources say he didn’t invest any money through Bhardwaj.
The government has cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, saying they are often Ponzi schemes with no legal tender or protection.