Randeep Singh Surjewala has questioned the alleged lack of action, claiming that the BJP is protecting certain party individuals.
Randeep Singh Surjewala, a spokesperson of the Indian National Congress (INC), has accused the Bhartiya Janta Party government of the southern state of Karnataka of covering up a bitcoin scam.
The Indian National Congress on Sat, Nov 13, 2021, called for an independent investigation to be conducted into the matter by a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team with multi-agency constituents. Congress has targeted Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of Karnataka since he was the Home Minister when the case surfaced last year. The scam was perpetrated by a 26-year-old individual named Srikrishna Ramesh, who was arrested as part of a narcotics bust in 2019. During the investigation, the police discovered that Ramesh had hacked the Karnataka state government’s e-procurement portal and redirected $1.3 million.
He confessed to having hacked Bitfinex in 2016 and stealing 2000 bitcoin. Ramesh was arrested in Nov 2020 and was kept in prison for 100 days, without Interpol being contacted and briefed, alleges Congress. On April 24, 2021, the Commissioner of Police in Bengaluru wrote to the Interpol Liaison Officer and notified the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
Modi accused of cover-up
A significant contention that Congress raises is that the bitcoin was claimed to be recovered by the Bengaluru police, who then later retracted the claim. Several Congress leaders have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a cover-up of a bitcoin scam by asking Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of Karnataka to drop the investigation, after which Randeep Singh Surjewala called for Bommai to reveal the names of actors involved in the scam.
Bommai responds to Congress
Bommai fired back at Congress and asked why Congress didn’t start investigating Ramesh at the time of the Bitfinex hack. He claims that the government of the Bhartiya Janta Party opened the investigation while Ramesh was involved in the drug case. They exposed the bitcoin scam and were investigating. When Congress was in power, Bommai claims that they allowed it to get bigger, but now when the BJP investigates it, they are coming under scrutiny. He slammed Surjewala for using Twitter to air his allegations and has challenged Congress to name the individuals behind irregularities they claim protected by the BJP. He said that he was willing to sacrifice anyone involved. Bommai said they will be merciless in apprehending anyone in the country or state who is found guilty.
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