The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized assets valued at ₹97.79 crore belonging to Ripu Sudan Kundra aka Raj Kundra, the husband of Shilpa Shetty, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002. Among these assets is the Juhu flat registered in the actress's name, as well as shares and other holdings, all linked to a Bitcoin ponzi scheme.

The ED stated in an official statement that it has confiscated properties including a bungalow in Pune and equity shares owned by Kundra. This action comes in response to multiple FIRs filed by the Maharashtra Police and Delhi Police against Variable Tech Private Limited and other individuals, including the late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, and Mahender Bhardwaj and number of MLM agents, prompting the agency to launch an investigation.

The accused parties are alleged to have accumulated significant funds in Bitcoin, amounting to ₹6,600 crore in 2017, by falsely promising investors monthly returns of 10% in the form of Bitcoins. These Bitcoin holdings were purportedly intended for Bitcoin mining, with investors anticipating substantial cryptocurrency returns. However, the promoters stand accused of deceiving investors and hiding the illicitly acquired Bitcoin in obscure online wallets, the ED adds.

According to the ED, Kundra received 285 Bitcoin from Amit Bhardwaj, the alleged mastermind behind the ponzi scheme, to establish a Bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine. The current value of these cryptocurrency assets is ₹150 crore, they were obtained out of criminal proceeds collected by Bhardwaj from unwitting investors. Despite the deal not materialising, Kundra is said to still possess those 285 Bitcoins.

In related developments, Simpy Bhardwaj was arrested on December 17, 2023, Nitin Gaur on December 29, 2023, and Nikhil Mahajan on January 16, 2023, all of whom are currently in judicial custody as of now. However, the primary suspects, Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahendra Bhardwaj, remain fugitive.

Earlier, ED had attached properties worth ₹69 crore. The Prosecution Complaint in this has been filed on 11.06.2019 and Supplementary Prosecution Complaint on 14.02.2024. The Hon’ble Special PMLA court has taken cognisance of the same.

ED posted via X, “ED, Mumbai has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs. 97.79 Crore belonging to Ripu Sudan Kundra aka Raj Kundra under the provisions of PMLA, 2002. The attached properties include Residential flat situated in Juhu presently in the name of Smt. Shilpa Shetty, Residential Bunglow situated in Pune and Equity shares in the name of Raj Kundra.”

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