Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Co-founder Gets Arrested For Operating Illegal Bitcoin ATM

Harish BV, the 37-year-old co-founder of the popular Indian cryptocurrency exchange, Unocoin, has been arrested by the police for installing a Bitcoin ATM. The ATM was installed at Kemp Fort Mall. His co-founder, Sathvik Viswanath has not yet been arrested by the police. The reports first came from the Central Crime Branch on the popular Indian magazine, Business Today. The press statement claimed that Harish installed the ATM without seeking permission from the state government and is carrying out a cryptocurrency business outside the oversight of the law enforcement agencies.

The CCB officials reportedly seized the machine along with five debit cards, two laptops, three credit cards, one passport, a seal of the company, $2,460 and a cryptocurrency device. According to the reports by local law enforcement agents, the device was not yet functional before the arrest was made. This is in line with the statement Unocoin made on Twitter:

“The machine wasn’t accepted well within the mainstream because of some media reports that put it in negative light. The machine was still under testing and was scheduled to be launched next week. It has now been moved from its original place of installation”.

Harish BV stood before the Additional Chief Magistrate court after which he remained in police custody for seven days. The police said that more arrests will be made soon asking the public not to be lured by the prospect of making quick profit from the cryptocurrency industry. The reports from “The times of India is that the machine was used to facilitate cryptocurrency related deals. The Indian Minute outlined that the ATM was set up even after the Reserve Bank of India placed a ban on cryptocurrencies and institutions dealing with cryptocurrencies.

TNM went on to say that Unocoin was attempting to establish new and improved solutions that will reduce the difficulties attached to regulatory issues. The machine was to be used for withdrawing, and depositing Bitcoin and not selling or buying it.

Making reference to the budget speech of Arun Jaitley, the Minister of Finance, Sathvik Viswanath, co-founder of Unicoin said:

“The statement of the Minister of Finance was clear: Cryptocurrencies are not legal tenders in India. He did not say they were illegal either. There is a big difference. What his statement means is that people will have to bear the risk of their investments if they participate in the industry”.

This summer, Unicoin announced that it had suspended all fiat withdraws and deposits following the orders from the RBI. Depositing cryptocurrency assets will continue Unodax, a partner exchange and the company’s cryptocurrency-rupee trading platform.


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