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Litigation has been filed in an Indian High Court by a public prosecutor of cybercrime cases. Claiming that cryptocurrencies facilitate crime, he calls for their immediate ban or regulation.
Litigation Seeks Immediate Intervention
A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed with the Calcutta High Court in India “seeking an intervention to regulate the flow of bitcoins,” the Indian Express reported.
Lawyer Bivas Chatterjee, a cyberlaw expert and the public prosecutor for several cybercrime-related cases for the government’s crime investigation department (CID) and the state police stated in his filing:
Drug trafficking, ransomware, extortion and other unlawful activities are being facilitated by the use of cryptocurrencies, which need to be immediately banned or regulated.
Citing the difficulty in tracking cryptocurrency transactions, he revealed, “Investigating authorities are facing hurdles while probing crimes involving cryptocurrencies or bitcoins because of their anonymity,” emphasizing that “In India, law enforcement agencies are confused.” He also claimed, “cryptocurrencies are perfect facilitators for crime” and “bitcoin is India’s currency of choice for drug trafficking, arms, and prostitution business.” As such, he demanded in his PIL:
Either the government should ban bitcoin by declaring it illegal like [they do in] China or there must be a regulatory body to control its flow.
Taxation of Cryptocurrencies
The government has also been repeatedly warning citizens of the risks of dealing with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, demand for these instruments continues to soar in India. Besides taxation, the regulators have been actively discussing how cryptocurrencies should be regulated but no official decision has been made.
Taxation of cryptocurrencies has been a recent focus of the Indian government. In December, the tax authority conducted a survey of the country’s top bitcoin exchanges, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Notices were then sent to wealthy cryptocurrency traders informing them of their tax obligations. However, no guidelines have been provided and Indians are confused about what their crypto tax obligations are.
Citing that the “Use of Bitcoin was maximised post demonetisation, when a cashless economy was being promoted,” Chatterjee pointed out in his PIL that several criminal cases in India have shown cryptocurrencies threatening taxation. “Moreover, the value of cryptocurrencies have witnessed upheavals in the absence of controlling authorities,” he was quoted by the Times of India. Chatterjee further elaborated:
In Bengal, the economic impact of such a decentralised, unregulated and unaccounted parallel economic system is huge.
The High Court will hear this case on February 2.
Do you think India will attempt to intervene in the flow of bitcoins soon? Let us know in the comments section below.
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