Reported ‘Kingpin’ of 25M rupee Indian crypto scam arrested at Delhi airport. A 60-year-old man was arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on Thursday for reportedly heading a 25 million rupee ($340,000) cryptocurrency scam.
After arriving from Dubai, Umesh Verma, a former jeweller and greeting card manufacturer, was held by the Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing. Police say that Verma, along with his son Bharat, persuaded hundreds to invest in a scheme called Pluto Exchange, offering 20 percent to 30 percent monthly returns.
The scheme issued a “cryptocurrency” called Coin Zarus in exchange for investments. However, shortly after the scheme launched in November 2017, returns dried up and Verma reportedly dropped off the radar, eventually resurfacing in Dubai in 2018.
Delhi police filed a case of misappropriation of funds against Verma in September 2020, leading to his New Year’s Eve arrest. According to a report by the Hindustan Times, Pluto Exchange also launched India’s first mobile app for cryptocurrency, promising the ability to buy, sell and store Bitcoin (BTC) using only a mobile number. Verma had previously been arrested in December 2017 over an unrelated gold smuggling case.
[image: Ashwini Chaudhary]