Bitcoin scam: K'taka CM says case with ED, HM says CID

Bitcoin scam: Karnataka CM says case with ED/CBI, HM says CID

Asked about the involvement of politicians, Bommai said, 'If there’s anybody involved, let it be said and we will investigate.'

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra contradicted each other on the investigation into the seemingly murky bitcoin and drugs scam. 

Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, Bommai said that the state government had entrusted the probe to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 

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“All that has been investigated,” Bommai said when asked about the case. “The investigation at the state-level is done. We have referred it to the ED and CBI. The investigation will continue,” he said, adding that there is no scope for anybody to interfere in the probe. 

Asked about the involvement of politicians, Bommai said, “If there’s anybody involved, let it be said and we will investigate.” 

Jnanendra, however, said that the case is being probed by the CID. “Investigation is underway. The CID is doing it. So, whatever statement I make may come in the way of the investigation. Our police have taken it seriously. They’re going to the root and they’ll bring it out soon,” he said. 

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Also, Jnanendra neither confirmed nor denied the involvement of politicians. “Whoever is involved, be it, politicians, from any of the three parties here or non-politicians, will be brought to book. The inquiry is going on well,” he said. 

Jnanendra further specified that it is not the regular police that is probing the matter. “CID officers...there are experts...they’re on top of this,” he said, adding that nobody will be saved or protected. “It's a very serious case and investigation is on.”

Earlier this year, CCB sleuths had seized bitcoins worth Rs 9 crore from a Bengaluru-based hacker Srikrishna alias Sriki. He was also accused of breaking into government portals and of sourcing drugs through the darknet while paying for it. Speculation is that some "high-profile" leaders and their kin were involved.

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On Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah accused the ruling BJP of a cover-up. He also said “influential” politicians were involved in the case. Siddaramaiah maintained that there could be a cover-up underway. “If the CM is now saying the case has been referred to the ED. What were they doing all this while? Protecting someone? I don’t know. I’m also collecting details,” he said. 

Jnanendra hit out at Siddaramaiah for making “vague” statements. “This is a matter concerning the nation's economy. One has to rise above party lines,” the minister said. 

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