Bitcoin scam: No question of protecting anybody, says Araga

Cong. has claimed two key politicians are involved in it and there is a cover-up effort

October 28, 2021 11:28 pm | Updated 11:28 pm IST - BENGALURU/HUBBALLI

A file photo of physical imitation of Bitcoins.

A file photo of physical imitation of Bitcoins.

The Congress on Thursday upped the ante on the alleged bitcoin scam involving two high-profile politicians of the State and demanded a judicial probe as they “do not have faith in any investigating agency” given the attempts at a “cover-up”.

The former Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said there was a suspicion of ₹10,000 crore worth transactions in bitcoins that involve hacker Sri Krishna, arrested by the city police in November 2020. “Fingers are being pointed at several political leaders. There have been attempts to close the case. We hear the Prime Minister’s Office has sought details of the case,” Mr. Reddy said. Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah had first flagged the issue on Wednesday on Twitter.

The Central Crime Branch of Bengaluru city police had arrested Sri Krishna, 25, in a narcotics case, where he was accused of procuring narcotics from the dark web in November 2020. During his interrogation, the CCB claimed to have uncovered his involvement in several cybercrimes, including ransomware attacks on gaming and other websites and swindling money from several websites, including those of the Government of Karnataka. The CCB had recovered 31 bitcoins worth ₹9 crore from him. However, allegations have now surfaced that ₹10,000 crore worth transactions in bitcoins were covered up and this involved two high-profile politicians.

Reacting to the allegations at Hubballi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who was Home Minister when Sri Krishna was arrested, said the scam was already probed at the State level and later referred to the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation. “The investigation will continue and there is no scope for anyone interfering in the probe,” he said. On involvement of prominent politicians, he said if anyone had information, they should spell out the names.

Investigation under way

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, at a press conference in the city, said there was no question of saving anyone and investigation was still under way into the case by the Criminal Investigation Department. “I cannot say anything at this moment as that would affect the investigation. But I want to make it clear that whether they are politicians or non-politicians, they will be brought to book. There is no question of sparing anyone,” he said.

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