Indian crime officials being probed in major Bitcoin scam

Indian Crime Branch Officers Under Investigation for Bitcoin Scam

Several officers from the Indian Crime Branch, including an Inspector General of Police (IGP), are currently being probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with a Bitcoin scam. The SIT has issued a notice to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sandeep Patil, head of the Crime Branch at the time, to provide clarification regarding discrepancies in the investigation into the Bitcoin scam.

The Bitcoin Scam and Suspects Involved

The Bitcoin scam revolves around hacker Srikrishna Ramesh, also known as Sriki, and his associate Robin Khandelwal. Sriki hacked a cryptocurrency exchange, Unocoin, in 2017, stealing 60.6 Bitcoins worth ₹1.14 crore. He then laundered the funds using cryptocurrency and traded 150 Bitcoins worth ₹5.5 crore through Khandelwal. Both individuals were arrested in 2020 on charges related to ordering drugs online using Bitcoin.

Allegations Against Former Crime Branch Officers and Cyber Expert

According to a first information report (FIR) filed by the SIT, four former Crime Branch officers and a private cyber expert are facing charges for illegal confinement, breach of trust by a public servant, and destruction of evidence linked to the Bitcoin scam. The investigation alleges that the officers manipulated the probe to conceal the misappropriation of Bitcoins recovered during the case, with discrepancies in the reported Bitcoin amounts and missing funds.

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