Reacting to the Karnataka home minister’s allegations against the son of a Congress legislator for his alleged involvement with Bitcoin scandal accused Sriki, state Congress chief DK Shivakumar on Thursday slammed Araga Jnanendra, saying that he lacked basic common sense.
“Home minister is a mad man. First, he has to be sent to the NIMHANS for checking. He doesn’t know when he (hacker Srikrishna) was in Jail. He should have basic common sense in what he speaks,” Shivakumar said on Thursday.
The statements come after Jnanendra made allegations that the hacker and prime accused Sriki had helped Mohammed Nalapad, the son of Congress legislator NA Harris, manipulate the results of the Youth Congress elections in January this year.
The home minister was unavailable for a comment on the Congress’ latest statement on Thursday.
The Congress continues to allege that Sriki has helped several senior BJP leaders launder money earned from corruption, bribery, transfer of officials and other ways through Bitcoin, which the hacker helped procure.
Reiterating his government’s stand over the issue, the chief minister made it clear, “Our stand is firm. We will punish those who are involved in the alleged scam. There is no question of any leniency, whoever it may be. We will crackdown mercilessly.”
“Our government arrested the accused in a drug abuse related case and has registered 3 cases against him. We have initiated the probe through Central Investigation agencies. Now you are questioning those who arrested him. What should we do now” Bommai said in Koppal district on Thursday.
The BJP had earlier alleged that Sriki had connections with Siddaramaiah’s deceased son, Rakesh.
“@BJP4Karnataka has alleged that my son Rakesh was seen with Sri Krishna’s friend Hemant Muddappa. Then how can we interpret the photo of @narendramodi with Nirav Modi during the 2018 World Economic Forum?,” Siddaramaiah said on Twitter, posting a picture of the alleged economic offender with the Indian Prime Minister.
“@BJP4Karnataka is trying to hide their corruption by bringing the name of my deceased son. I urge @CMofKarnataka to order for Judicial enquiry by Supreme Court to investigate about #Bitcoin scam including our term,” he said.
The man at the centre of the scandal, Srikrishna or Sriki, claimed that he began learning to code in Class 4 and was part of a group that hacked a cryptocurrency exchange five years ago.
He was arrested by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of police on November 17, 2020, and during his interrogation, CCB found that he was involved in a series of online crimes. He confessed to hacking and stealing from three Bitcoin exchanges, 14 company websites, including 10 poker websites, and a government portal.
A statement given by the hacker, which is part of the charge sheet against him and police claims was voluntary, gives a glimpse of the life of Srikrishna, who by his own account was a genius. These details are information provided by the hacker in his voluntary statement, which has not been corroborated by the police. Police are trying to verify the claims and HT cannot independently verify them. His lawyers have opposed the claims in the charge sheet in a local Bengaluru court.
He claimed to have developed his skills and joined an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel used by a group of black hat hackers (unethical hackers). According to him, he learned hacking from the members of this channel.
He has said that over the years, he hacked into gaming sites and other online platforms and stole or manipulated data and amassed huge amounts of money or as favours to bankroll his lifestyle and addiction to drugs.
Shivakumar said that the father of Sriki had gone to court alleging that his son was given drugs by the police and made to hack websites.
“First, let the home minister inquire about a complaint which has already come out in the media (in which) the names of various BJP leaders have come. Let him first take a complaint on that,” he added.
Siddaramaiah has said that he had no evidence to suggest that any particular person but sought a judicial inquiry into the allegations.