A day after he was detained for creating ruckus at a five-star hotel in the city, Bengaluru police on Monday arrested hacker Sri Krishna on charges of consuming narcotics. Sri Krishna is also the prime accused in the case involving cryptocurrency, in which the Opposition had alleged the involvement of some BJP leaders.
A senior police officer in the know of the development said ever since the Opposition has leveled allegations against the BJP leaders there was pressure on police. Even though he was arrested on charges of consumption of narcotics, he was interrogated by senior police officers, including officers from the Central Crime Branch probing the case involving theft of Bitcoins.
The officer said Sri Krishna was living in the hotel in Domlur for more than a month. On Saturday, a person by the name Vishnu Bhat came to the hotel and tried to go to Sri Krishna’s room without providing details to security guards. When the hotel staff tried to stop him, there was an altercation and police were called in.
After detaining Sri Krishna and Bhat , police conducted a blood test on both of them and found that they had consumed marijuana. Based on this medical test, both were booked under the Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Police claimed that they had searched the police searched the room of Sri Krishna and home of Bhat and recovered 10 cigarettes with marijuana. Both men are currently in police custody.
Sri Krishna was caught on November 8 after police arrested some drug dealers to whom he had allegedly sold drugs procured from the dark web. Sri Krishna graduated in computer science from a college in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 2017 and has good knowledge about computers and the internet. A senior police officer said Sri Krishna would encrypt data and demand payment from owners for the site to be unlocked by attacking the sites online.
When he was arrested police had claimed that they had seized ₹9 crore worth of Bitcoins from him. However, when the charge sheet filed against him in connection with the hacking case makes no mention of the bitcoins recovered from him. Similarly, Hemanth Mudappa, who was named in the initial complaint by police for his involvement in the case, did not find any mention in the charge sheet.
Apart from this, police are accused of failing to inform central agencies about Sri Krishna’s involvement in the infamous Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange hack in 2016. The Bitfinex hack had alerted international authorities as 1.19 lakh bitcoins were stolen in 2016 and it is considered one of the biggest crypto exchange hacking so far.
“Police knew about this in 2020 following his interrogation, but the police department shared this information with the central agencies in April 2021. Even the details mentioned in the charge sheet make it clear that investigators were aware of his involvement, but they informed the CBI about this only after a nudge came from the central agencies. So, there is pressure on the investigators, especially CCB over this,” said the senior officer.
It was an ED probe into an 11-month-old case in Bengaluru involving a cryptocurrency hacker Sri Krishna alias Sriki that snowballed into a political controversy with the Opposition accusing the ruling BJP of a cover up last week. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah told the media that two influential politicians were involved and there was an attempt to cover up their role in the case.