CID officers are on the lookout for former MLA Nalin Kotadiya, whose name has cropped up during the interrogation of Kirit Paladiya, the mastermind in the kidnapping of Shailesh Bhatt and extortion of 176 bitcoins.

Senior officers from the criminal investigation department said they have so far searched more than 25 locations, including Surat, Amreli and Ahmedabad, but are yet to track down Kotadiya.

The former legislator, sources said, has left behind his mobile phone to evade surveillance. A team was even sent to Chandigarh following a tip-off though it turned out to be false, said a source.

“We had gone to the sessions court to file a report against Kotadiya and plead for an arrest warrant against him under CrPC Section 70. We could not get it as the court was closed. We should have the warrant with us on Tuesday morning,” said AA Shaiyad, deputy superintendent of police, CID (crime).

Meanwhile, the police have transferred the 119 bitcoins recovered from Paladiya’s Binance e-wallet to a wallet opened by the special investigation team. Officers said they plan to convert the cryptocurrency into Indian rupees and seize it.

The CID first served summons on Kotadiya on May 4. Officers issued more summons after they didn’t receive any response from the former MLA. On May 7, Kotadiya released a press statement claiming that he was being “framed by the conspirators”. He also claimed that Shailesh Bhatt was the main conspirator and that he had also kidnapped two investors and extorted 2,300 bitcoins from them.

On May 9, Kotadiya also faxed a letter to the CID Crime and in which he pleaded the officials to not to carry out the third summons since he was allegedly out of Station and will only be able to return on May 11 or 12. He cited his reasons as he was not able to get transportation to get back to the city during the summer holiday rush in public transportation. Because of this, they waited but the officials claimed that he did not show up at the designated time and not even on Sunday.


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