Police in India have arrested a narcotics detective in what the country’s press is calling its “first” misappropriation case involving Bitcoins.
Satyendra Kumar Singh, who in 2015 seized wallets containing 470 BTC as part of a drugs bust with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), is currently in custody facing charges of illicitly accessing the funds.
Having signed off on an authorization to unblock the wallets using NCB headed paper, Singh became subject to an internal investigation after it became known that no authorization was given from other sources.
“After the accused got bail from the Gujarat high court in 2016, the NCB sought a report [sic] on the status of the Bitcoin accounts and learned [sic] that Singh had authorized the unfreezing of the accounts in July 2016 through a signed and stamped letter on an NCB letterhead,” local news source Times of India quotes a crime branch official.
It thereafter transpired that Singh had struck a collaborative deal with one of the accused as part of the theft.
The events are reminiscent of the complications arising from corruption investigators as part of the Silk Road investigation, in which law enforcement officials were similarly accused of misappropriating Bitcoins.
India’s government has issued repeat warnings about cryptocurrency in recent months, stating that legal protections for users were not in place, while startups in the space complained of a rise in bad actors misleading novice investors.