Kingpin of Rs 485 crore Kerala bitcoin scam murdered in Dehradun

Shakoor fled to Dehradun after he faced business losses and investors chased him

Cryptocurrency Representational image | Reuters

The kingpin of a bitcoin scam valued at Rs 485 crore that had its roots in Kerala has been beaten to death by five of his associates in Dehradun, a senior police official said on Saturday.

The attackers tortured Abdul Shakoor till he fell unconscious and left the body at the emergency ward of a private hospital in Dehradun on Thursday night before fleeing. They were arrested on Friday, the officer said.

The scam has its roots in Kerala and the kingpin, Shakoor, and his associates hail from the southern state, Dehradun SSP Arun Mohan Joshi said, adding that a search was under way to nab five more close aides of Shakoor—Ashique, Arshad, Yasin, Rehaab and Muneef.

Giving details, the SSP said Shakoor ran a bitcoin business and had allegedly collected around Rs 485 crore for investing in cryptocurrency from residents of Pandikkad, Manjeri and Malappuram in Kerala.

Shakoor's animosity with his teammembers started when he allegedly suffered losses in the business and escaped to Dehradun as people who had invested in bitcoins through his associates began chasing them for their money, he said.

When his associates asked him about the money, Shakoor allegedly told them that his bitcoin account had been hacked. Not convinced, his associates hatched a plan to retrieve the password of his account.

They arrived in Dehradun, where Shakoor had been living in a rented house, and pressured him for the password. As Shakoor refused to give in, they began torturing him as they believed Shakoor still had hundreds of crores in his account and was deceiving them, the SSP added.

The torture continued, ultimately leading to Shakoor's death, he said, adding that the body had multiple injury marks.

His killers took him to two hospitals in the city as he fell unconscious but when doctors at both facilities declared him dead, they fled leaving his body behind, Joshi said.

The accused are being interrogated even as the search for five others goes on, the SSP said.