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Petition Filed In Indian Court Seeking Regulation Of Cryptocurrencies

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A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in an Indian High Court urging the government to intervene to regulate the flow of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, in the country.

Advocate Bivas Chatterjee, who is a public prosecutor of cybercrime cases in the eastern state of Bengal, has moved the Calcutta High Court raising concerns about the consequences of the uncontrolled flow of the virtual currency.

The cyber law expert calls for the immediate ban or regulation of cryptocurrencies alleging that it facilitates crimes such as drug trafficking, ransomware, extortion and other underworld activities.

In his petition, Chatterjee cited examples of how Bitcoins were exchanged for cash in Kolkata, and a government agency report citing instances of drug cartels using Bitcoins.

"Use of Bitcoin was maximised post demonetisation, when cashless economy was being promoted. In India, law enforcement agencies are confused… Either the government should ban Bitcoin by declaring it illegal like China or there must be a regulatory body to control its flow," Chatterjee said in the PIL.

"This is a gigantic ponzi scam but our government agencies are sitting in the gallery and watching it unfold. People need to be protected and agencies that fight economic offenses need to be proactive," according to him.

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had told the parliament last week that there is no mechanism to prevent the misuse of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Chatterjee pointed out that investigating authorities are facing hurdles while probing crimes involving cryptocurrencies or bitcoins because of their anonymity." He termed bitcoin as "India's currency of choice for drug trafficking, arms, and prostitution business."

Bitcoin is a decentralized virtual currency that allows monetary transaction around the world without involving any bank. The money can be used to purchase goods and services, even those that are not legal.

by RTT Staff Writer

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