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Nilam Doctor is Mastermind of Bitcoin operations: ED
ABHIMANYU SINGH  New Delhi | 22nd Feb 2014

he Enforcement Directorate has zeroed in on Nilam Doctor, the Ahmedabad based owner of a company trading in virtual currencies, as the possible "mastermind" of the business in India.

A senior ED official, probing the matter, told The Sunday Guardian on the condition of anonymity that Doctor, who is based in Mauritius, could well be the mastermind running operations related to virtual currencies in India.

"We think he could be the person sharing expertise with others in the business. He appears to be connected to everyone and has contacts in the United States, United Kingdom, and Mauritius," said the ED official.

The ED conducted a raid on his office premises in Ahmedabad on 14 February, confirmed the official, although Doctor said that it was at his home. The ED had previously searched his office, as per media reports, around two months ago. Another trader's office was also raided the last time around.

The ED official said that there were complaints against Doctor's company, regarding certain discrepancies in his operation. "His contact details, including telephone numbers in India have not been checked. His continued stay abroad also makes us suspicious," the official said.

However, Doctor said that would be returning to India in March this year. "I am on a work permit here in Mauritius. I earn a living from salary," he added. He furnished his contact details in Mauritius in an e-mail to this paper but did not respond when questioned on his contact details in India.

As far as being the mastermind is concerned, he wrote: "Yes, I am pro virtual currencies! I want India to benefit from use of virtual currencies."

Doctor said that the ED recovered nothing incriminating from his place. "Five officers inspected each and every corner and found nothing. But to satisfy themselves, they took 2x240 MB HDD (1998) which contains some data," he claimed. The ED official declined to comment on this issue.

The ED is concerned that the identities of those trading on platforms related to virtual currencies remain anonymous and the companies behind such platforms do not reveal their identities to investigative agencies. "They say we are just a platform. We don't track the identities of our customers. We suspect that false identities and IP addresses are used. The lack of face-to-face interaction means you don't know to whom it was sold and who bought it, "said the ED official.

In response, Doctor sent a document on Bitcoin, which he claims to have written for Rajya Sabha MPs. It defends the anonymous aspect of trading in virtual currencies thus: "While Bitcoin is very similar to cash in that parties can transact without disclosing their identities to a third party or to each other, it is unlike cash as in all the transactions to and from a Bitcoin address can be traced. In this way, Bitcoin is not anonymous but

pseudonymous."

 
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