Another crypto fraud scheme in India has been closed down by local law enforcement authorities after its founder went on the run for almost a year.
Kashh Coin, which attracted several complaints from traders who claimed to have lost significant amounts of cash after investing in it, was set up by 35-year-old Asif Ashrak Malkani and operated by him and an alleged accomplice, Sonu Dahiya.
They set up their scheme back in December last year, and they held a launch event in Chhatarpur. At that stage, each Kashh Coin was worth 3.5 Indian rupees.
Several other events were held in the run-up to this one, and over time a number of investors were brought on board. The pair also held events across the border in Nepal.
According to police, the pair would promise investors at these events that Kashh Coin was on the verge of surpassing the value of Bitcoin.
However, by the time they had collected almost $33,000 US dollars, they went missing – and at first, neither of them could be located.
Sonu Dahiya was taken into custody relatively quickly, and during questioning, he said that the Kashh Coin system was based around Ponzi scheme principles.
During questioning, Dahiya said that it was Malkani who was behind it. However, Malkani himself could not be found and went on the run for a period of months.
At the time, Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner Bhisham Singh pointed out the sheer geographical range of the crimes.
“Malkani and his associates also organize lavish seminars in different places, including Nepal, Mumbai, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Raipur, and Nagpur, for business promotion”, he said.
“At these seminars, they would claim that the rate of this coin will cross the cost of Bitcoin.”
Now, however, Malkani has been taken into custody by police in Delhi.
This is far from the first case of cryptocurrency fraud in India, and it’s also not the first to rely on a celebrity-focused marketing operation in order to work, too.
Last month, the case of Amit Bhardwaj shocked India after it was revealed that this particular alleged crypto fraudster had conned around eight thousand investors.
In that case, he allegedly set up high-end marketing events in order to create the illusion of prestige. Videos, for example, were presented at the events, but one of these was demonstrated to be a rip-off from a video made by news website VICE.
Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty was also recruited to advertise the scheme, although there is no suggestion that she was aware of its fraudulent nature.
The case also revolved around a self-made cryptocurrency, too. In Bhardwaj’s case, it was called MCAP, but this was later revealed to be of no significant value.
Like Malkani, Bhardwaj was also arrested in Delhi. Bhardwaj later told investors they could have cash refunds, but it remained unclear whether they would accept such a proposed settlement.
“There are large numbers of investors who got cheated in this way”, police in Bhardwaj’s case told the press.