Bengaluru, Nov 13 (UNI) Former AICC President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged that the Bitcoin scam is big, but the coverup is much bigger.
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said, “Bitcoin Scam is big. But the Bitcoin Scam Cover-up is much bigger. Because it has to cover up someone’s fake big ego.”
In a statement earlier, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the BJP government in Karnataka appears to be preoccupied with “Operation Bitcoin Scam Cover Up”, instead of conducting a fair investigation into it.
He posed several questions to the Basavaraj Bommai government asking to reveal the actors in the Bitcoin Coverup Scam.
He also asked the government to disclose whether the stolen bitcoins were transferred from the wallet of alleged hacker Sri Krishna. “How many bitcoins and of what value were transferred? How does the Bengaluru police then suggest (in its third Panchnama dated 22nd January 2021) that the 31 & 186 Bitcoins allegedly transferred to the police wallet were lost or were found to be fake transactions?” he questioned.
Surjewala asked the government whether it investigated the correlation between “Whale Alerts” reflecting the transfer of the 14,682 stolen Bitfinex bitcoins valued at Rs 5,240 crores and Srikrishna’s custody, suggesting that the illegal money was transferred to influential people to bury the case.
The Congress spokesperson questioned Bommai’s role in the scame, who was the then Home Minister of the state, when these illegal transactions happened.
Surjewala also questioned the government for not informing such gigantic offences with international ramifications and waiting for five months up till 24 April 2021 to write to Interpol, after the release of Srikrishna on 17 April, 2021.
He also asked the reason for the BJP government not to inform NIA, SFIO and ED.
Congress leader and former IT Minister Priyank Kharge demanded a Supreme Court-monitored judicial enquiry into the Bitcoin scam to recover money amounting to Rs 2500 crore allegedly in possession of Bitcoin hacker Srikrishna Ramesh, who denied of having any money left with him as he spent huge sums of money on alcohol and hotel bills.
“I made a profit of around 20008 BTC (bitcoin). I did not save anything. I spent around Rs 1-3 lakh per day on alcohol and hotel bills on average. The price of bitcoin during the time of this hack was around USD100 or USD200, which I shared with my friend Andy from the UK,” Srikrishna said in a written statement to police.
The accused said he made this illegal money by hacking Bitfinex exchange twice and said he was the first person to do so and he hacked the AWS Cloud Account of an Israeli employee working for the Army.
“Bitfinex was my first big Bitcoin exchange hack. The exchange was hacked twice, and I was the first person to do so. The second instance was a simple spear-phishing attack, which led to two Israeli hackers working for the Army getting access to the computers of one of the employees, which gave them access to the AWS cloud account,” Srikrishna said.
He said he managed to hack the bitcoin exchange by exploiting a bug in the data centre, which gave him Kernel-based virtual machine access to the server, allowing him to reboot the server into GRUB mode among other things, before routing the money via bitcoin to his bitcoin address.
Srikrishna also stated that he had hacked Karnataka government’s eProcurement site in 2019 and made three separate transfers. He said two of the accounts were given to him by Hemanth Mudappa for a total of Rs 18 crore in one account and Rs 28 crore in the other.
“Hemanth claimed he collected Rs two crore from an entity called Ayub, who I do not know. However, the CID claims that Rs 11 crore was collected by Hemanth Mudappa,” he added.
According to Srikrishna, “I initiated the second transfer of Rs 28 crore, while sitting in the Himalayas. This transaction was presumably refunded because the government apparently got to know about the dubious nature of the transaction. I did not earn any profit from this; however, I did enjoy the proceeds of the crime by living in five-star hotels and enjoying a luxurious lifestyle from the proceeds of the same.”
Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar and Kharge have been alleging that the BJP government in the state and at the Centre were trying to close the case by “extracting” illegal money from Srikrishna, which he made by hacking Bitfinex exchange.
Kharge had on Friday alleged that the Basavaraj Bommai government had administered mind-altering drugs to Srikrisha, hinting that they want to “neutralise him mentally” and close the case. He had also alleged that the state government had not handed over the case to the Central investigation agencies.
Siddaramaiah also asked, in a series of tweets, whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi was pressing for dropping of the investigation into the Bitcoin scam by advising Bommai not to worry about it.
BJP leaders, including Bommai, said the case has been handed over to the central investigation agencies and the culprits will be punished. He also asked Congress leaders to provide documentary proof of any “illegal” transaction of money between Srikrishna and BJP leaders to close the case.
Bommai had also hinted that Congress leaders had half-baked information on the matter with Siddaramaiah and Kharge making different allegations.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said Srikrishna’s crime history had come into public domain in 2015, when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister.
He questioned the Congress leader for not initiating any action on the hacker, whereas it was the Bommai government that initiated the action and arrested him and during an interrogation, he threw light on hacking the Bitfinex exchange twice and the government portal as well.
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