Ground Report | New Delhi: Srikrishna Ramesh theft of bitcoin; Karnataka police took the prime accused in the bitcoin scam Srikrishna alias Sriki into custody from a five-star hotel in Bengaluru on Saturday before opposition leader Siddaramaiah said he would make sensational claims with documents on Monday.
Srikrishna Ramesh theft of bitcoin
Srikrishna Ramesh, a 26-year-old man accused of multiple computer hacking crimes in India, was involved in the first hacking and theft of bitcoin from Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2015 during his stay in the Netherlands. Shrikrishna Ramesh alias Shriki was arrested by the police in November 2020 in a drug case related to the darknet.
The Bitfinex exchange was hacked twice – in 2015 and 2016 – and bitcoins were stolen. While the 2015 hacks were relatively minor, August 2016 hacks resulted in the theft of approximately 120,000 bitcoins, worth about $72 million at the time and now valued at around $7 billion. The second hack is considered one of the biggest bitcoin heists of all time.
Srikrishna, who is accused in several hacking crimes in Bengaluru, including the theft of Rs 11.5 crore from the state government’s e-procurement cell in 2019, has claimed in his statement to the Bengaluru Crime Branch police that he hacked Bitfinex. was the first person to do so. transaction. The accused was found fighting with a man named Vishnu Bhat at a five-star hotel in Shriki city. According to the police, Shriki also got into an argument with the security officer. On getting information about the dispute, the police arrested both Shriki and Vishnu Bhat.
Karnataka’s ruling BJP is in turmoil as allegations against the state’s top party leaders in the bitcoin scam reach the Prime Minister’s Office. Sources say that the allegations are being taken seriously and the PMO has recommended further investigation in the matter.
This has prompted a section of the leadership, especially top-level leaders, and party insiders to say that this development could lead to major changes in the ruling establishment. The opposition Congress has said that it will file an application under RTI on the bitcoin scam, with its state chief D.K. Shivakumar.
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Sources claim that an anonymous letter contains explosive details of top BJP leaders in the state allegedly joining hands with the prime accused in the bitcoin scam, Srikrishna Ramesh alias Sriki, to make money. Considering the gravity of the matter, the PMO has suggested a high-level inquiry as the scam related to the hacking of international banks has seriously damaged the image of the country. The sources also alleged that the accused had hacked the ‘Jan Dhan Project’, which has 80 lakh accounts and mined hundreds of crores of rupees.
KA Paul, an activist of the Citizen Rights Foundation, has written to the Karnataka High Court seeking a court-monitored probe into the hacking activities that have ramifications nationally and internationally.
Police sources have denied any wrongdoing in tackling the hacker’s illegal activities. Responding to questions about bitcoin’s alleged disappearance, a source claimed, ‘Whatever he told the police was recorded and produced in court.’
Incidentally, Srikrishna suggested in his statement that he as a hacker knew that stolen cryptocurrency transactions could be tracked by blockchain tracing experts. The statement reveals that he was aware of obfuscation tactics employed by hackers to cover his tracks while handling the stolen bitcoins.