Pankaj Ghode and Ravindranath Patil, the alleged cyber-crime specialists, collaborated on two incidents of multimillion-dollar bitcoin Ponzi schemes in 2018.
The two specialists supported the Pune Special Investigation Team (SIT). The Pune police cyber cell has verified that about 1,300 bitcoins have gone stolen from the wallets of cyber specialists Ghode and Patil. It represents an improvement in crypto related transactions. Projects like Concordium have introduced ID recognition before crypto transactions but it remains largely un-adopted.
The offenders were apprehended by cyber police during an investigation that began in April 2021. On allegations of stealing bitcoins for financial benefit while supporting the police throughout the inquiry, the forces took several mobile phones, MacBooks, hard drives, tabs, computers, CDs, and other materials from their possession.
On Monday, the Pune Police Cyber Crime Cell issued a 4,400-page charge sheet against two cyber specialists. Patil admitted to taking 237 bitcoins, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police Bhagyashree Navtake. Ghode is accountable for about 900 bitcoins that have gone missing. Over $770,000 in 34 different cryptocurrencies was reportedly confiscated by authorities as they probed an alleged 900 bitcoin difference.
Patil and Ghode are now being held in judicial custody at Pune's Yerawada Central Jail. According to officials, Patil was an IPS officer for a few years before departing. He has been working as a cybercrime specialist since then. He supported different police departments and investigation organizations, as well as training officers on crypto-crime.
Ghode has worked as a cyber security expert and operated multiple firms, including some based abroad. The accused officers are believed to manipulate the screenshots of bitcoin recovery and submit them as proof to the police as part of their investigation report.