Bitcoin Scam : Bengaluru Police denies foul play in investigation:

Pramesh S Jain 

The Bengaluru Police refuted the charges of foul play in the investigation and cover-up exercises.

Meanwhile,the Bengaluru police issued a statement to clear the air and said that the investigation was conducted by the Central Crime Branch in a fair and professional manner.

It is emphatically stated that such misleading versions are being floated based on incomplete/distorted facts.All such versions are vehemently denied,the police said.

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 persons,including Srikrishna,alias Sriki were secured and arrested.

During interrogation,Srikrishna confessed before the Investigating Officer about his involvement in alleged hacking of many Crypto-currency 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 Crypto Currency,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.

Hence, the said account was left untouched and as a result,no BITCOINS were transferred to Police wallet.

The case has been chargesheeted along with the above facts and related documents and is now subjudice,” police said.They said that at no stage was anything done which could jeopardise a fair investigation and the process of law.

They claimed that investigation was done by a team of professional officers under close supervision and in continuous consultation and in the presence of reputed and external experts, without any external influence or interference.

On the claim made on Whale Alert’s Twitter handle that 14,682 stolen bitfinex bitcoins were transferred, police said they were completely unsubstantiated.

There is nothing to suggest that it had originated from Bengaluru. The law enforcement system and investigating agencies work on certain procedures laid down by law of the land,the statement read.

It further said that till date no foreign law enforcement agencies or any foreign companies have approached Bengaluru police about any hacking.

Even representatives of Bitfinex company have neither shared any details of the alleged hack nor sought any information so far,police said.

On the claims of Srikrishna about high volume hacking of websites, police said the careful examination of digital evidence by the cyber experts revealed that majority of his claims were unsubstantiated.

It also said that Bengaluru police have informed CBI,Enforcement Directorate and Interpol through proper channels this year.

Regarding the charge that Srikrishna was allegedly forced to consume Alprazolam during police custody, police said that on the direction of the court, his blood and urine samples were collected at Bowring Hospital and submitted to the Forensic Science Laboratory for scientific examination.

After examination,the FSL gave a negative report, stating that there was no presence of drugs, police said in their statement.