Cryptocurrency

Kolkata gaming app: ED freezes fresh Bitcoins, cash

The Enforcement Directorate has frozen Rs 7.12 crore worth of Bitcoins and seized Rs 1.65 crore in cash as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation against the promoter of a Kolkata-based mobile gaming app that is alleged to have duped many people.

The action has been taken against the app called E-Nuggets and its promoter Aamir Khan.

“The ED (Enforcement Directorate) carried out a search operation at two premises in Kolkata, leading to the seizure of Rs 1.65 crore cash and freezing of 44.5 Bitcoin (equivalent to Rs 7.12 crore as per market exchange rates) and other incriminating documents,” the federal agency said in a statement. The ED had raided the premises of the app’s company and that of Khan and his father Nesar Ahmed Khan in Kolkata last month and had seized Rs 17.32 crore in cash from there apart from freezing bitcoins and some bank deposits in the past.

With the latest action, the total seizure amount in this case stands at Rs 51.16 crore. The agency said as many as 300 accounts were used to “launder” funds of gamers.

Aamir Khan was arrested by the detective department of the Kolkata Police from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh last month. The money laundering case stems from an FIR filed by the Kolkata Police against the company and its promoters in February 2021. The FIR was registered at the Park Street police station based on a complaint filed by the Federal Bank authorities before a court in Kolkata, the ED had said.

The agency found that Aamir Khan launched the gaming application E-Nuggets, which was designed for the purpose of “defrauding” people. “After collecting a sizable amount of money from the public, all of a sudden withdrawal from the said app was stopped on one pretext or the other. Thereafter, all data, including profile information, was wiped off from the said app servers,” the ED said.

The accused was transferring part of the amount “illegally earned” through the gaming app to overseas locations by using cryptocurrency exchange, the agency alleged.