ED seizes crypto assets worth about ₹ 90 crore in ‘E-Nugget’ case

Updated - May 01, 2024 06:29 am IST

Published - May 01, 2024 05:37 am IST - NEW DELHI

ED has taken possession of frozen crypto assets worth close to ₹ 90 crore, earlier kept in 70 accounts maintained with Binance, ZebPay, and WazirX.

ED has taken possession of frozen crypto assets worth close to ₹ 90 crore, earlier kept in 70 accounts maintained with Binance, ZebPay, and WazirX. | Photo Credit: -

The Enforcement Directorate has taken possession of frozen crypto assets worth close to ₹ 90 crore, earlier kept in 70 accounts maintained with Binance, ZebPay, and WazirX. This is in connection with a money laundering case involving online gaming app ‘E-Nugget’, the agency said on Tuesday. The assets have been transferred to the agency’s crypto wallet.

The ED alleges that the E-Nugget app, masquerading as a gaming platform, promised users high returns on investments. Properties worth more than ₹ 163 crore, comprising cash, crypto currencies, account balances, and office space, have been attached, seized, or frozen in the case so far.

App went dark

Explaining the modus operandi, the agency said: “A series of enticing games were designed for real-money wagering and promised users hefty commissions, the app painted a picture of a golden investment opportunity. However, this facade quickly fell apart once investments were made, with the app going dark and leaving the investors stranded without a way to reclaim their funds.”

The alleged scam was unearthed in 2022 when the ED discovered that a part of the ”ill-gotten gains” were invested in digital assets. “Nearly 2500 mule/dummy bank accounts were identified, and analysed,” it said. Subsequent searches led to the seizure of ₹ 19 crore in cash.

The alleged mastermind of the scam, Aamir Khan, was arrested and is currently in judicial custody. Another accused, Romen Agarwal, is also being held.

The ED initiated the probe based on a First Information Report registered by the Kolkata police alleging illegal activities by Mr. Khan and his associates. Through the app, they collected funds by duping users, abruptly halted money withdrawals, and erased all the user data from the app servers, resulting in substantial financial losses to the victims, it said.

Searches of 66 bank accounts led to the freezing of a further ₹ 2.43 crore.

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