Indian investigation bodies are probing three crypto exchanges for their roles in illegal drug trade transactions after they were alerted by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
FIU has zeroed in on about 200 of such transactions.
These transactions for suspected drug deals in Nigeria, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands were reportedly carried out through three Indian digital asset management companies, according to a report in the Economic Times.
Amongst other agencies, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax Department are probing the case.
“Digital currency was used to buy and sell drugs and some of these companies facilitated it…So far the agency has been able to track transactions worth Rs 28,000 crore [$3.5 billion],” the Economic Times quoted an unnamed senior government official.
Investigations revealed that majority of these transactions were carried out through these three crypto firms, and they were not reported to the authorities.
As per the media coverage, these transactions took place between 2019 and 2022, and they came to light after several drug traffickers were arrested by the Hyderabad Narcotics Enforcement Wing.
In operation, the Dark Web was used alongside cryptocurrencies.
The FIU is a national agency that receives all reports of suspicious financial transactions from Indian probe agencies and cooperates extensively with law enforcement agencies internationally in investigating terror and drug financing.
Dark Net and Cryptocurrencies
Last week, India’s Home Minister -Amit Shah- revealed in a high-level meeting on drug trafficking and national security, that cases of drug smuggling through the dark net and cryptocurrencies have increased in recent years.
In previous years, Indian investigating agencies are relentlessly chasing frauds and wrongdoings in the local crypto space.
Early this month, the ED raided several premises linked to a gaming app scam and recovered cash and bitcoins, which were frozen.