Monday, April 10, 2017

Drug Enforcement Officer From India Accused of Stealing Bitcoins

This week an Indian-Narcotics Control Bureau officer has been charged with stealing bitcoins from a darknet investigation.

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Drug Enforcement Officer From India Accused of Stealing Bitcoins

Drug Enforcement Officer From India Accused of Stealing BitcoinsOver the past few years, law enforcement in India has been investigating darknet marketplace usage within the country. There have been multiple reports of the India-based Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) busting high-level vendors operating on the deep web.

The NCB has been involved with one particular darknet investigation since 2015. Now much like the scandal that took place in the Silk Road investigation with Carl Force and Sean Bridges, India’s narcotics agency is facing similar controversy. NCB officials are under scrutiny as an investigator from the agency is accused of misappropriating seized bitcoins.

Unfreezing Seized Bitcoin Accounts Using Official NCB Letterheads

According to regional reports, officer Satyendra Kumar Singh collaborated with a group of accused darknet vendors and stole seized bitcoins from the agency’s confiscation. The NCB had arrested the organized group from Surat back in 2015 for trafficking prescribed anti-depressants and stimulants. Following the arrest, the alleged darknet vendors were released on bail and caught receiving funds from officer Singh.

India’s crime branch stated:

After the accused got bail from the Gujarat high court in 2016, the NCB sought a report on the status of the bitcoin accounts and learned that Singh had authorized the unfreezing of the accounts in July 2016 through a signed and stamped letter on an NCB letterhead. As no such authorization was given in the case, Singh came under the scanner, and an internal inquiry has begun against him.

Investigators Will Focus Efforts on Singh’s Transactions

Drug Enforcement Officer From India Accused of Stealing BitcoinsThe forged NCB letters were used to demand 420 bitcoins be sent to officer Singh. Prosecutors say that Singh then dispersed the funds to all the individuals on bail and was allegedly allowed to keep half of the seized bitcoins for his participation. According to investigators, Singh was bribed by Deepak Mangukiya, one of the accused drug traffickers.

Officer Singh has since been suspended from the NCB taskforce and has been officially charged by India’s crime branch. Singh and Mangukiya have also been detained, and prosecutors say further investigations involving Singh’s part in the crime will continue.

“A team led by inspector S R Tandel was given investigation of the case. Singh and Mangukiya have been arrested and remain secured up to April 13. The investigation will focus on the transactions and Singh’s role,” explained a senior crime branch official.

The news of a high-level Indian NCB officer accused of misappropriating funds follows India’s finance minister’s’ recent warnings against the virtual currency.

What do you think about the officer stealing seized bitcoins? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, NCB, and Pixabay.


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