Abductors take Rs 1.3 Cr ransom in bitcoins from UP bizman

In a first-of-its-kind crime reported in the state capital, three persons, who had held a real-estate businessman captive, used cryptocurrency to take a ransom of Rs 1.3 crore in bitcoins before releasing him.

The matter came to light a week after the police arrested the three persons — Sandeep Pratap Singh, Vijay Pratap Singh and Rajveer Singh.

Police said that the arrested accused were aware that the victim traded in cryptocurrency.

Police have recovered Rs 30,000 in cash, a country-made pistol, three live cartridges, five mobile phones and a car from them.

According to police, the three abducted Arjun Bhargava of Indraprasth Grand near Kalindi Park in Vrindavan Yojana, on the pretext of showing him a plot in Barabanki on August 7.

They held him hostage at a house where they thrashed him, trained a pistol on him, and got Rs 1.3 crore in bitcoins transferred to their account.

DCP (East Zone) Prachi Singh said the abductors, who pretended to be real estate dealers, met Bhargava and took him to Barabanki.

“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 Singh.

The officer said the victim’s wife, Nidhi Bhargava, said in the FIR that abductors held him at gun point and forced him to disclose the password and then got all the bitcoins transferred to their account.

“They also forced my husband to transfer the money into their bank account and opened fire when he resisted it.

Luckily, he was not hurt. They then brought him back to Lucknow and dumped him on the roadside,” she said.

DCP Singh said that police were tipped off by an informer about the miscreants who had abducted the businessman a week ago in a car bearing the plate of high court.

“We laid a trap and, on Tuesday, when they visited the Kalindi Park locality probably to collect more money from the businessman, we arrested them,” the police official said.

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