Bitcoin scam: Congress continues attack on ruling BJP in Karnataka

  • | Wednesday | 17th November, 2021

Bengaluru, Nov 17 (PTI) Continuing its attack on the ruling BJP in Karnataka over the alleged Bitcoin scam, the Congress on Wednesday demanded that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai clearly state that no irregularities have taken place. The party once again demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge. Days after the Bengaluru police issued a statement that no large-scale irregularities took place, as claimed by the Congress, the opposition party said there were confusing statements coming from the government. "The Chief Minister says that Congress is trying to keep a non-issue alive, whereas Revenue Minister R Ashoka says that the case should be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)," State Congress working president Ramalinga Reddy said in a press conference. Referring to media reports quoting some BJP ministers as saying that the Congress will be in trouble if the investigation takes place, Reddy, a Congress MLA and former minister, sought to know why there was confusion in the government. "Let the Chief Minister clearly say that no such incident has taken place. If we see their contradictory statements, it gives an impression that they (BJP government) are trying to hide something," Reddy told reporters. He also questioned BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel"s "silence" on this issue. The Congress MLA demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge. Addressing reporters, Congress MLA and former minister Priyank Kharge wondered why the Chief Minister said the Enforcement Directorate was probing the Bitcoin scam when it was a "non-issue" for him. "If it"s a non-issue, why are the BJP leaders talking about it daily?" Kharge said. He alleged that the police did not file a charge sheet against hacker Srikrishna alias Sriki, who is at the centre of the Bitcoin scam and was arrested in a drug case initially. His interrogation allegedly revealed his involvement in hacking Bitcoin related websites and apps. "It"s almost a year when Srikrishna was arrested in the drug case, but why has no charge sheet been filed in the court? Whom is the government trying to shield?" Kharge asked. The alleged scam came to light after the hacker Srikrishna, a tech geek who was arrested in a drug case a year ago, made a statement that he hacked some websites and appsvrelated to the Bitcoin trade and made a fortune. However, police rubbished his claim and asserted that the investigation was conducted by the Central Crime Branch in a fair and professional manner. Based on the credible information on November 4, 2020 on a drug consignment procured through the darknet, CCB Police secured one accused and seized 500 grams of Hydro Ganja. During further investigation, 10 other accused, including Srikrishna, alias Sriki were secured and arrested. During interrogation, Srikrishna confessed before the Investigating Officer about his involvement in alleged hacking of many Cryptocurrency websites. "It is stated that neither were any Bitcoins transferred from the account of hacker Srikrishna nor was any Bitcoin lost. It is a fact that for the purpose of investigation of Cryptocurrency, it was felt necessary to open a Bitcoin account," the police said. It added that on December 8, 2020, government permission was obtained to open a Bitcoin account. "During the process of identifying and seizure of bitcoins, accused Srikrishna showed a BTC wallet, which contained 31.8 BTC. The wallet password was changed in the presence of cyber experts, Government panchas and the entire procedure was recorded under mahazer and submitted to the court," the police said. Further, the Court"s permission was obtained to use password to transfer the said Bitcoins to the police wallet account. Upon reaching the said wallet shown by Srikrishna, it showed 186.811 Bitcoins, police said, adding that the Cyber experts opined that the said account claimed by the accused as his personal account was in fact a live wallet of an exchange and the accused did not have private key for this. PTI GMS RS APR APR

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