The Indian National Congress (INC) party is accusing the ruling Bharatiya Janta party (BJP) of laundering between INR 50 billion (USD 727 million) and INR 880 billion (USD 12.79 billion) in the state of Gujarat via Bitcoin. INC spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil is demanding a Supreme Court investigation into this money laundering conspiracy.
The accusation is that Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, whose director is BJP chief Amit Shah, received INR 7.45 billion of deposits in five days, while 11 other district banks in Gujarat linked with BJP leaders received over INR 31 billion of deposits. The INC spokesperson alleges that BJP leadership had been accruing black money through criminal activities, saying, “There were reports of the state police blackmailing some businessmen in Surat for extortion and named a former BJP legislator as one of the kingpins.”
The INC spokesperson further alleges that Bitcoin was used to convert money.
Bitcoin can be used for money laundering due to its relatively semi-anonymous nature. The only identifying info attached to Bitcoin transactions is the Bitcoin address, which is a string of letters and numbers. Cryptocurrency forensic companies have developed techniques to trace transaction history and attach identities to Bitcoin addresses, but this can be circumvented by mixing coins between many addresses, and transferring Bitcoin into other cryptocurrencies and then back into Bitcoin.
The BJP spokesperson, Anil Baluni, gives no credence to the INC allegations. He says, “The dirty tricks department of Congress is at work to spread confusion and lies. It is blaming the police, which has uncovered the case. I wonder if the Congress is trying to help somebody in this case as part of a conspiracy.”
The allegations of Bitcoin money laundering at high levels of the Indian government comes at an auspicious time for the Reserve Bank of India, which banned all INR to crypto trading beginning on 5 July 2018.
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