A sessions court here today declared former BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya an absconder in the multi-crore bitcoin extortion case being probed by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID-Crime).

Special Correspondent

The complainant in the case, Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt, had alleged that policemen from Amreli kidnapped him and his business partner Kirit Paladia from Gandhinagar on February 9 and extorted bitcoins worth Rs 9 crore owned by Paladia.

One of the accused forced them to transfer bitcoins - a form of digital currency - in his name, Bhatt had said and alleged that Kotadiya was also involved in the conspiracy.

Following the investigation, the CID registered a case of kidnapping and extortion against Kotadiya.

The court ordered for issuance of proclamation against Kotadiya after the investigating agency could not serve an arrest warrant on him despite repeated attempts. This led the court to conclude that Kotadiya was evading arrest, said public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt.

Allowing a request by the CID (crime), city sessions court additional sessions judge P J Tamakuwala said, “The court is subjectively satisfied that Nalin Kotadiya has absconded or has been concealing himself so proclamation under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code is required to be published…the court has no other option but to issue a written proclamation.”

The city sessions court ordered Kotadiya to surrender before it within 30 days or else it will initiate process against him according to the law.

The provisions of Section 83 of CrPC provides for attachment of property of the absconder, who fails to respond to the proclamation under Section 82 of CrPC.

Meanwhile, the court also issued an arrest warrant under Section 70 of CrPC against one Jatin Patel, brother of Ketan Patel, an advocate from Surat who is also an accused in the case of bitcoin extortion. Patel is supposed to have been the liasion between Kotadiya and other accused in the case.

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