Greed for easy money: Nagpur rocked by Rs 100 crore crypto currency rackets!

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Cops proposing to invoke MCOCA against the mastermind Nished Wasnik and  other Crypto scamsters

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Nagpur: The Second Capital of Maharashtra was rocked by Rs 100 crore crypto scams recently. The scamsters trapped the investors with lure of high returns and pocketed the whopping money for luxurious lifestyle, media reports said.

Following a flood of complaints by the duped investors, the case was handed over to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Nagpur Police.

The EOW on February 19 made the first arrests in the scam. Four people were nabbed from Pune for allegedly duping 2,000 investors to the tune of Rs 40 crore in a crypto-currency fraud. The accused Nishid Wasnik, his wife Pragati, Gajanan Mungune and Sandesh Lanjewar were arrested after being on the run for over a year. Cops seized a pistol, seven live cartridges, four luxury cars worth Rs 1 crore, Rs 18.91 lakh cash, eight cell phones and a laptop. They were held from Pangoli near Lonavala in Pune. The accused Nishid, Sandesh and Gajanan were also accused of gunning down a person in Washim after abducting him from Nagpur last year, according to reports and police.

According to reports, subsequently, the number of arrests in the Rs 40 crore crypto-currency racket in the Second Capital reached 11, a day after the main accused, his wife and two associates were held from Lonavala in Pune. The mastermind accused Nishid Wasnik used to flaunt his luxurious lifestyle to get people to invest in a firm that he claimed was dealing in ‘ether’ crypto-currency, reports said, adding he manipulated the website of the firm to show a steady rise in the value of investments, while transferring money into his accounts fraudulently between 2017 and 2021. He had even organised a seminar on crypto-currency investment in Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh.

The reports further said that around 300 victim investors, duped of Rs 8 crore, came forward to lodge complaints. However, hundreds of others preferred to stay anonymous for reasons better known to them.

The main accused and mastermind Nishid Wasnik, a class 12 pass out, who operated this crypto racket, had support from his niece, who is an MBA graduate and helped Wasnik carry out this huge crypto scam. The accused, along with wife, used to flaunt his luxurious lifestyle. They stayed in high-end hotels and penthouses. Nishid used to spend lakhs of rupees on models. All these dirty deeds came under the radar of the police.

According to reports and police, this crypto scam is not the sole crime committed by prime accused Wasnik. He had several cases against him, including two murders. He is also wanted in a murder case of his close aide in Washim last year,following a dispute. As per sources, Wasnik had purchased several properties with the fraud amount. In the past, he was booked in another case of fraud at Rana Pratap Nagar Police Station.

Seminars in posh hotels:

The accused Nished Wasnik and his gang used to hold seminars in posh hotels. The investors were being taken to foreign tours including to Thailand, Singapore etc. The big investors were always entertained in every way.

Another Rs 67.59 lakh crypto, Forex trade scam:

On the lines of Nished Wasnik fraud, Nagpur’s Pachpaoli Police recently busted a Rs 67.59 lakh crypto-currency and Forex trade scam. Cops have booked four persons, including one from Gujarat, for allegedly defrauding a middle-aged man to the tune of Rs 67.59 lakh by promising huge profit. The accused have been identified as Ashok Ambadas Lande (49), a resident of Plot No 202, Chetak Apartment, Mangal Sevalal Tiwari (42), a resident of Plot No 48, Ambar Colony, Dabha; Dharmesh Jayantibhai Patel (36), a resident of Plot No 226, Goregaon Dongri, Gujarat; and Roshan Satish Rathod (40), a resident of Plot No 248, Godhan Nagar, Hilltop.

The accused Lande and Tiwari have been in the dubious business for the past five years. A case was registered against the duo in 2019 too. In another case, the accused pretended to be the victims and thus had misled the police.

Cops to invoke MCOCA against scamsters

Talking to Nagpur Today, the Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Akshay Shinde said that the Crime Branch, which is now investigating the scams, has prepared a proposal to invoke Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the crypto currency scamster Nishedh Wasnik and other accused including his father Mahadevrao Wasnik, wife Pragati Wasnik, Sandesh Lanjewar, Gajanan Mungne, Lalit Sanjay Naik, Deepak Tulsiram Naik, Sachin Roopchand Wasnik, Ramu alias Sonu Hiraman Vanve, Diksha Sandesh Lanjewar, Rajendra Khobragade and Kalpana Gajanan Mungne.All these  accused were arrested by the Economic Offence Wing (EoW ) of Nagpur police.

Huge land of scamsters unearthed:

According to the DCP Shinde, police have unearthed huge agricultural land in Nagpur district bought by scamster Nishedh Wasnik. The investigators are suspecting that the money of gullible investors was diverted to purchase the land by Wasnik.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Akshay Shinde, the property details were with the police and further action would be initiated soon. Cops are contemplating to mortgage the land and the money raised could be returned to the duped investor. The police are also busy in the valuation of five cars that were seized from Wasnik.