The prime accused in the now infamous Bitcoin case, Srikrishna Ramesh or Srikky, has allegedly made away with thousands of bitcoins over the past five-six years.
This case has now created havoc in Karnataka, especially among politicians and police officers. Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah took to social media to allege a significant conspiracy.
He said, “There is information about the involvement of influential politicians of Karnataka in Drugs & Bitcoin scam. It is concerning that the investigating officers are trying to close the case to help those politicians. @BJP4India govt should not use their power to divert the investigation. They should ensure that the guilty is punished.”
Black hat hacker while in school
Sources tell India Today that Srikrishna began to take an interest in computers while in the 4th standard and later immersed himself in various computer languages and technologies. It is alleged that he hacked into the main website while in school and used to alter his and others’ attendance and marks regularly.
He later joined as a Black hat hacker and was made an administrator in the 8th grade. It is stated that he would keep in contact with hackers from around the world through Internet Relay Chat (IRC) which is a text-based chat (instant messaging) system. In the Black hat hacker world, Srikrishna Ramesh is known by his aliases Rose and Big Boss.
One of his first escapades was with an Australian hacker named Shane D. Both allegedly managed to hack PayPal’s account transaction website. Later, he would hack gaming applications and transfer the ill-gotten wealth to his PayPal account. All this took place while he was still studying at VV Puram College.
While in college, he got into drinking and drugs. Due to his obsession with drugs, he began to hack into more companies to steal money. He would purchase bitcoins and use them to procure drugs on the darknet.
Websites hacked by him include BTC2pm.me – where people exchange bitcoins for money; Havelock Investment – a stock trading platform for bitcoin users; Paytiz – a Bangladeshi exchange; MPEX – an illegal cryptocurrency trading platform; and Mixexchage – a Ukrainian platform and many more.
SRIKRISHNA HOODWINKS BENGALURU POLICE
His luck ran out in November 2020 when some of his associates allegedly went to a post office in Bengaluru to collect a parcel of ganja. According to sources, Srikrishna transferred funds to Robin Khandelwal, who ran a Bitcoin trading service, to purchase drugs on the darknet.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) November 1, 2021
He was then arrested in the drug case, but this opened Pandora’s Box. The Bengaluru Police found Srikrishna was involved in multiple other crimes in the city. Furthermore, a CID cybercrime cell probe that was in progress at the same time into the e-procurement cell hacking also unearthed technical evidence linking him to the crime.
The police then claimed to have recovered 31 bitcoins valued at Rs 9 crore from the alleged hacker. However, it is alleged that Srikrishna had misled crime branch officials into believing he had access to bitcoins that were actually in exchange and not in his possession, and this led to the claim of the recovery of bitcoins.
ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE INVESTIGATING ILLEGAL WEALTH OF SRIKRISHNA
The ED is now investigating all his illegal wealth and the siphoning of Rs 11.5 crore of funds from the e-procurement cell of the Karnataka e-governance centre. The agency took up investigations based on cases registered by the Bengaluru cybercrime police and the city’s central crime branch police.
Srikrishna Ramesh was questioned recently by the ED in connection with a case registered earlier this year by the agency into the alleged hacking of accounts of bitcoin holders between 2018 and 2020, and the encashment of the bitcoins by the hawala route after sale to third parties.
As per news reports, in chargesheet filed by CCB police, it is recorded that the accused has looted 5000 Bit coins through unethical hacking.
Who holds these Bit coins now?
Have they got it transferred to accounts of investigating agencies?
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 1, 2021
In August, the ED attached Rs 1.44 crore of funds parked in the account of a UP firm Nimmi Enterprises from the Rs 11.5 crore that was stolen by hacking the Karnataka e-procurement cell.
The ED had also informed the court that since 2018, he and his associates have extorted funds from companies and individuals by threatening to destroy crucial data accessed by hacking and have amassed wealth by selling bitcoins illegally and hacking reputed websites.
Rs 6 crore allegedly stolen from the Karnataka e-procurement cell, after the funds were accessed through hacking by him and associates, has not been found yet.
WHO EXACTLY IS SRIKRISHNA
Srikrishna is a 25-year-old software programmer. A resident of Jayanagar in Bengaluru, he completed his schooling in the city and then went to Amsterdam in 2014 to study computer science.
WHAT WAS HIS MODUS OPERANDI?
Srikrishna had a few accomplices and friends who helped him in crime.
Srikrishna would purchase drugs from the dark web using Bitcoins and then have them delivered to Chamarajapet Foreign Postal Office. Then he or one of his accomplices would collect the consignment from the post office. They would sometimes sell these drugs and at other times consume them.
File photo of Srikrishna Ramesh or Srikky, prime accused in the Bitcoin case
He would also hack poker websites, steal vital data, and blackmail the owners into paying him whatever he wanted.
“He has been active in the Bitcoin trade. Recently, he was also involved in a case registered at KG Nagar police station in South Bengaluru. He provided Bitcoins for purchasing drugs through the darknet, and we are investigating his activities,” Police Commissioner Kamal Pant had told India Today TV.
FINALLY, IN THE NET
On November 4, he received a parcel containing Hydro Ganja from abroad at the Chamarajapet foreign post office. One of his contacts, identified as M Sujay B Mohanraj, collected it and was caught. This was the first breakthrough in the case.
Upon further interrogation, Sujay led the police to Sunish Hegde, Prasad Shetty and Srikrishna. They were booked by the Kempe Gowda Nagar Police who then handed over the case to the Central Crime Branch (CCB).
During the investigation, it was found out that Sunish and Prasad were related and that they were sourcing the drugs via the dark web with the help of Srikrishna and then distributing and consuming it.
WHAT WAS SRIKRISHNA UPTO?
After returning from Amsterdam, Srikrishna was a very busy man. He is accused of hacking into Indian poker websites and an online gaming website called RuneScape. With the money he made, he would party at Sunish and Prasad’s flat where drugs would be consumed and sold.
In 2018, he was involved in a criminal case where he and Mohammed Nalapad, son of MLA NA Haris, allegedly assaulted a man in UB City. Sources said the bone of contention in the pub brawl was the hacking services of Srikrishna.