A litigation has been filed by a public prosecutor in an Indian High Court calling for immediate regulation or prohibition of cryptocurrencies in the country, allegedly due to the fact that digital currencies promote crime and anti social activities in the country.
The case was filed as a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Calcutta High Court by prosecutor Bivas Chatterjee. He has worked as the public prosecutor for several cybercrime cases in the state of West Bengal in the past, coordinating with the state police as well as the state’s CID (Criminal Investigation Department).
“Drug trafficking, ransomware, extortion and other unlawful activities are being facilitated by the use of cryptocurrencies, which need to be immediately banned or regulated”.
His filing states that anti social activities like drug trafficking, ransomware, extortion among others are being facilitated by the use of cryptocurrencies. He calls for an intervention to either regulate or bar the currency from being circulated in the country. He also cites the difficulty in tracking Bitcoin transactions as a reason for a ruling, saying that law enforcement agencies are facing difficulties while investigating the flow of Bitcoin from one source to another. He called on the Indian Government to either ban the currency like China did or constitute a regulatory authority to control its usage in the country.
The Indian Government, has been, for the past few months, warning its citizens to avoid dealing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In spite of all their warnings, demand for Bitcoin and other digital currencies continue to rise in India. Although no official announcements have been made, Indian authorities are planning to introduce legislation to regulate Bitcoin in the country.
Earlier in December, the Indian Income Tax Department conducted raids in different crypto exchanges based in India. Subsequently, notices were sent to wealthy digital currency owners informing them of their tax obligations. However, with no clear set of guidelines, Indians are not sure about their crypto tax obligations.
Chatterjee also claims that the use of cryptocurrencies in the country has boomed post demonetization, as the central government was seeking to promote a cash free Indian economy. He also claimed that cryptocurrencies were threatening the Indian taxation system and with the absence of a regulatory body, Bitcoins were seeing rapid gains in their values. The High Court is expected to hear the case on 2nd of February 2018.