By CCN.com: The Supreme Court of India granted interim bail to Amit Bhardwaj in a $300 million Bitcoin Ponzi case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The GainBitcoin founder, according to his lawyer Deepak Prakash, was suffering from kidney failure for months. He reportedly spent a majority of his prison time in a Jail hospital in Delhi. Bhardwaj’s ailing health prompted him to skip court hearings since December 2018 in about 12 criminal cases filed against him across India.
The Supreme Court heard Bhardwaj’s bail plea on March 27 and ordered his lawyers to submit his medical reports in the next hearing on April 3. Advocate Prakash returned with a copy of the medical record – attested by Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) – which revealed that Bhardwaj went through a kidney transplant surgery this year.
The records also mentioned that Bhardwaj’s kidneys were working normal, which could have resulted in the dismissal of his plea. Nevertheless, Bhardwaj’s lawyers argued that he needed time to attain back his mental and physical fitness. The court eventually granted him a temporary break from prison.
The bail didn’t come without a cost. Bhardwaj had to deposit ₹ 100 million – which is close to $1.5 million – in bond to get out of jail. Generally, people pay as little as ₹ 5,000 (~$72) in similar bail bonds on petty crimes. A million dollar bail bond indicated that the Supreme Court wanted to keep Bhardwaj away from absconding.
Other alleged culprits involved in the GainBitcoin Ponzi scam are also out on bail like Bhardwaj. That involves Bhardwaj’s brother Vivek Bhardwaj, Sanchit, Rupesh Singh, Rajesh Jain, Ayush Varshney, Sahil Baghla, and Nikunj Jain.
Vivek Bhardwaj received an interim bail relief alongside his brother on April 3. Sanchit, who was a business developer at Amit Bhardwaj’s firms, was arrested in Pune on May 24. He came out of jail after a local court in Chandigarh granted him bail. Another business developer at GainBitcoin, Rajesh Jain also received bail protection in Chandigarh to attend the funeral of his deceased father.
Co-conspirator Ayush Varshney, who was the founder of Gurugram-based Darwin Labs, alongside Sahil Baghla And Nikunj Jain managed to stay out of jail after attaining a court relief ahead of his arrest. Baghla and Jain, meanwhile, are still in prison. The three of them allegedly received 20-percent cuts from GainBitcoin’s scam operations.
Co-accused Rupesh Singh got jail protection from the Bombay High Court this year.
The Amit Bhardwaj-led scams affected over 6,000 investors in India out of over $300 million. The perpetrator offered to compensate victims in an out-of-court settlement. However, they refused, stating that Bhardwaj should payback in bitcoins.
The bitcoin price has surged more than 1,000-percent since Bhardwaj started his multi-level marketing firms.