On 21st October 2018, we carried an article titled “Virtual Havala Center opens up in Bangalore. Are the Police…RBI and Arun Jaitely aware ?
This was followed up with necessary alerts being sent to law enforcement agencies in different places. Fortunately, at least one Kannada daily namely Vijayavani took up the issue and published a story on 22nd October 2018.
It appears that the Police have taken prompt action and on 23rd itself moved in to arrest one of the co-founders of Unocoin, the Company that owned the ATM. A case of cheating and IT act violations has been booked against the operator B.V. Harish.
However, in a show of arrogance, the owners have given out a statement that shows that they may not stop their efforts and move the ATM to another State.
Police should have seized the ATM as it may contain evidence of some illegal transactions. At present the Company says that it has temporarily moved the machine some where. As per this report in Bangalore Mirror ,
Police have said that
“They (ed: the company) did not have any licence from RBI, Sebi or any other agency to carry out the bitcoin transaction. They were running it without obtaining any trade license from the BBMP,”…users had been approaching the ATM after they received a 12-digit OTP for making the deposit or withdrawal. It was also pointed out that there was no indicators affixed at the kiosk to indicate the bitcoin exchange rate…”
In the meantime, Unocoin and its supporters are proceeding to continue their con game to lure gullible investors. A video on youtube highlights the views of the Company that “Mr Arun Jaitely says that Bitcoin is not legal …but has not said it is illegal…and it makes a huge difference..” etc.
This video indicates that the machine has been temporarily removed and will be back. The narrator projects it as a “Sad News” and it says that similar machines would be set up in Mumbai and Delhi.
It is clear that these videos are meant to project Bitcoin as a means of legit investment and Police should initiate action against such covert operators who are responsible for projecting a false information about Bitcoin and its legitimacy.
A word of appreciation is however due to the Bangalore Police (CCB) which took prompt action to get the ATM removed.
I hope any attempt to set up such ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi should be stopped forthwith.