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Former CCB cop held in high-profile Bitcoin case, 4th arrest so far

Chandradhar is the third police officer and the fourth person to be arrested in the infamous case that rocked Karnataka in 2020.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 20:57 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 20:57 IST

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Bengaluru: A police inspector who previously served in the Central Crime Branch (CCB) has been arrested in connection with the Bitcoin case. 

Chandradhar is the third police officer and the fourth person to be arrested in the infamous case that rocked Karnataka in 2020. 

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested Chandradhar from his home in Vidyaranyapura, North Bengaluru, on Wednesday morning. He had “gone into hiding” after being summoned for questioning, a well-placed source in the SIT told DH. 

Following his arrest, the SIT produced Chandradhar before an ACMM court, which remanded him in police custody for five days, until June 2, according to the source. 

The arrest stems from an FIR filed by the SIT’s investigating officer, K Ravishankar, at the cyber crime police station in the Criminal Investigation Department. 

The FIR names five individuals: Santosh Kumar K S, CEO of GCID Technologies Pvt Ltd; Prashanth Babu D M, police inspector incharge of CCB’s technical support centre in 2020; Chandradhar, and two other inspectors, Lakshmikanthaiah and Shridhar K Pujar. 

The SIT had previously arrested Prashanth Babu and Lakshmikanthaiah, and summoned Pujar for questioning. 

Chandradhar is accused of helping Kumar “illegally” access Bitcoin wallets of serial hacker Srikrishna alias Sriki’s money manager, Robin Khandelwal, and siphoning off Bitcoins worth Rs 1.8 lakh. He also allegedly destroyed evidence of these acts. 

Kumar, the CEO, reportedly accessed Khandelwal’s wallet at his company’s office in HSR Layout between December 30, 2020, and January 6, 2021. 

The three CCB officers — Lakshmikanthaiah, Babu, and Chandradhar — had approached Kumar for technical assistance while questioning Srikrishna and Khandelwal, who were first arrested in 2020. 

Earlier this month, SIT arrested Srikrishna and Khandelwal for allegedly stealing 60.6 Bitcoins from a Tumakuru-based cryptocurrency exchange, following a complaint from the exchange’s co-founder. 

Srikrishna is currently in judicial custody while Khandelwal is being questioned by the SIT.

The SIT source mentioned that the team had questioned three more suspects and suggested that the investigations have instilled fear among those involved. 

Cut-off box - Pujar absconding again Pujar currently a deputy superintendent of police is said to have absconded again. The SIT has launched a manhunt for him.  Previously the SIT had summoned Pujar for questioning but he disappeared from Bengaluru and applied for anticipatory bail. The court directed him to appear for questioning before the SIT. According to another SIT source Pujar did appear for questioning but was sent back because the investigating officer was on medical leave. He was asked to appear again when called but has since gone incommunicado. 

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Published 29 May 2024, 20:57 IST

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