K'taka kidnappers demand Rs 17 crore ransom in bitcoins

Karnataka kidnappers demand Rs 17 crore ransom in bitcoins

Representative image. Credit: Getty Images

Criminals are keeping pace with the latest tech trends, with a kidnapping case in Dakshina Kannada giving a glimpse of the sophistication.

Police officials in the district were surprised on learning that a gang which had kidnapped an eight-year-old boy in Ujire on Thursday evening had demanded Rs 17 crore ransom in bitcoins.

Anubhav, who is the grandson of A K Shivan, an entrepreneur based in Ujire, was playing in front of his house when he was abducted by four men.

Later, the kidnappers contacted the family and demanded a ransom of Rs 17 crore. Initially, the kidnappers demanded 100 bitcoins (Rs 17 crore) but later reduced it to Rs 10 crore.  

Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police B M Lakshmi Prasad on Friday said the gang had been identified.

"The suspects are known to the family," said Prasad, who earlier in the day had visited the boy's house in Ujire.

Police have also launched an investigation on why the kidnappers had demanded the ransom in bitcoins.

Prasad told DH that the boy's father owned a hardware shop and was into online marketing. The kidnappers, the cops suspect, may have demanded bitcoins thinking that the boy's father was in possession of cryptocurrency.

"The kidnappers demanded bitcoins as the value of one bitcoin had shot up 10 times this year and is now valued at over Rs 17 lakh," the SP said, adding that teams were camping in Ujire to track down the kidnappers.