NCB Asks WazirX for Info on Alleged Drug Dealer on its Crypto Platform
Firm says accused ‘Cryptoking’ not its client
Apoorva Mittal & Rashmi Rajput
The Mumbai wing of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) recently sought details from WazirX about an alleged drug dealer on its platform, but the cryptocurrency exchange said on Friday that the accused was not a WazirX user.
On Tuesday, the NCB arrested Makarand Pardeep Adivirkar, aka Cryptoking, in Mumbai for allegedly using bitcoin to purchase LSD on the Dark Web in November.
“During interrogation, the accused claimed that he used various cryptocurrency exchanges for his business. One of the platforms he named in his statement is WazirX,” a senior NCB official privy to the developments said.
A probe is under way and once there is more clarity on the flow of money, “we will seek more information from the said exchange, if need be,” the official added.
A spokesperson for WazirX said that it had informed the NCB that the accused had not used its platform.
“On June11, 2021, WazirX received an email from the NCB enquiring about the said accused and his trading activity on WazirX. Upon checking our records, we identified that the accused is not a WazirX user, and we communicated the same to the authorities on June 12,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The development comes a week after the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) asked WazirX, India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, to explain transactions worth ₹2,790.74 cro- re, which the agency alleged were in violation of foreign exchange rules.
The exchange said that, as of June 18, it had not received any summons from the ED.
WazirX said it would continue to follow Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering rules.
“We perform stringent KYC verification of every user to verify their identity as well as a secondary KYC verification through linked bank accounts before allowing a customer to transact on WazirX.”
PROBE UNDER WAY
The development comes a week after the ED asked WazirX to explain transactions worth ₹2,790.74 crore, which the agency alleged were in violation of foreign exchange rules