SEOL: Tax officials were reported to have inspected documents of at least nine Bitcoin exchanges in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi and Gurugram since early morning Wednesday. A report appearing in Reuters quoted the Director General for Income Tax at Karnataka as confirming that notices were sent to evaluate patterns of virtual trade. The department has so far sent notices to all crypto-currency investors, irrespective of their trading flavours- Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple etc. 9 exchanges running in India confirmed to Reuters that their users, mostly young and tech-savvy users across profiles ranging from real-estate and jewelry business were quizzed on their crypto-holdings. A month ago, Business Standard and Economic Times too carried reports suggesting that the profiles of traders ranged from exporters and textile traders as well. Popular crypto-exchanges in India includes the likes of Zebpay, Coinsecure, Coinmama, LocalBitcoins, VirWoX, Belfrics, Koinex etc. Another newspaper quoted a senior IT official from Bengaluru saying that nearly 4 lakh of the 20 lakh entities registered on exchanges in India remained operational and transacted in virtual currencies hence prompting the department to start collating data. According to sleuths, the department has so far sent out notices that seek to identify the details of counter-parties and bank accounts used by crypto-currency traders and miners. The Bengaluru division of the IT department, shared recorded details of users with other divisions across the country, for a detailed investigation. Following initial investigations, these departments have sent out charges of tax-evasion and capital gains tax on bitcoin trade and investment on these individuals. High-profile investors in bitcoin include Bollywood Celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra, R. Madhavan, Huma Qureshi, Neha Dhupia, Vir Das, Nargis Fakhri, and Prachi Desai have reportedly invested in crypto-trading. Tax administrators admitted to seeking help from experts in blockchain, the technology that underpins bitcoin, to conduct the survey. In some cases, tax officials themselves participated in the trade to identify loopholes after they found investors had poured in billions of dollars through unregulated exchanges. The Income Tax sleuths’ move comes around a time when bitcoin has slumped to a fresh low in 2018, after concerns on trading in South Korea. In India, cryptocurrency transactions rose to $ 3.5 billion, accounted from a few ten thousand users of the country over a 17 month period. The crypto-world dealing in bitcoins, ethereum, Ripple etc, especially Indian exchanges were taken aback by the surprise move. Zebpay’s Co-founder Saurabh Agarwal said, “many of our customers are treating digital currency like gold.