Bitcoin scam allegations will boomerang on Cong.: CM

Produce evidence, Bommai tells Siddaramaiah

Launching a counter-attack on Congress which has accused the BJP government of trying to protect prominent politicians in the alleged bitcoin scam, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said such ‘baseless’ allegations will boomerang on the party and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah.

Speaking to mediapersons in Bengaluru, the Chief Minister said that the key accused in the case, hacker Sri Krishna, could have been arrested back in 2018, but the then Siddaramaiah-led government had not done so. It was the BJP government which later arrested the kingpin, he maintained.

“Should I now say that the then Chief Minister was responsible for money laundering?” he asked. “Being in a responsible position as a Chief Minister, I do not want to say anything which will lower the dignity of this post.” He urged Mr. Siddaramaiah not to indulge in “kite flying.”

Mr. Bommai said the bitcoin issue that was part of money laundering had come to be known when Sri Krishna was arrested in connection with a drug trafficking case in 2020. During the investigation, it turned out that he was also a hacker and was involved in money laundering with bitcoins, he said.

Prior to this, Sri Krishna was involved in the vandalising case related to UB City in Bengaluru in February, 2018, when the Congress led by Mr. Siddaramaiah was in power. But the then Congress government had not taken measures to either arrest him or interrogate him though there was a clear evidence against him, the Chief Minister said.

“I urge Mr. Siddaramaiah to produce an iota of evidence to support his allegations. If he does, we will conduct a thorough probe,” he said, while accusing the Congress of trying to deliberately rake up the issue to gain political mileage during the bypolls. Reiterating that there was no question of protecting anyone irrespective of their clout, he said the investigation was going on in an efficient manner.

“We have filed three separate cases against the accused in 2020 and filed chargesheets in all of them. We have also referred the cases to ED on March 3, 2021, and sought assistance from the CBI’s Interpol wing on April 28, 2021, while another one is being investigated by CID,” the Chief Minister said.

“All these things have come to light because of our war against drugs. In the last two-and-a-half years, we have booked a series of cases and made the highest seizures which is a record for the country,” he said.

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