The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is closing in on financials of hacker Srikrishna Ramesh’s family members as part of the probe into a 2020 money laundering case.
The ED is trying to find out the source of 50,000 pounds (approx. Rs 47 lakh) found in the account of Sudarshan Ramesh, who is the brother of Srikrishna.
Srikrishna is accused of cyber fraud, drug peddling and cryptocurrency theft. The 26-year-old also allegedly hacked into the Karnataka government’s e-procurement site and siphoned off more than ₹11.5 crore in 2019.
On November 2020, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) had reportedly seized 31 bitcoins worth ₹9 crore from the Bengaluru-based hacker. He has also allegedly traded in drugs on the dark web as well.
Sudarshan Ramesh wants to return to The Netherlands, but the ED has blocked his plans to leave India claiming that he is not cooperating on the proceeds of funds obtained through hacking crimes by his brother, Srikrishna.
Earlier this week, the ED told the high court that it is seeking details from banks abroad on transactions in Sudarshan’s account and therefore cannot say if it can allow him to leave the country.
Thirty-one-year-old Sudarshan, who works as an engineer in the Netherlands, had come to India in January and has not been allowed to leave the country since then following a lookout circular issued by the Enforcement Directorate.
Sudarshan had approached the court stating that he was questioned by the ED for his alleged role in the scam involving his brother, but said he is innocent.
At least eight cases have been filed against Srikrishna and police have filed chargesheets in three and are probing five others. Children of politicians, cutting across party lines in Karnataka, are known to have been friendly with Srikrishna. He was named in a criminal case for the first time in February 2018 — as an associate of Mohammed Haris, the son of Congress MLA N A Haris — following a brawl at a pub in Bengaluru.
The cryptocurrency controversy has turned into a political blame game in Karnataka with the Congress demanding an independent investigation into the matter by a Supreme Court monitored Special Investigation Team.
Srikrishna is a computer science graduate from the Netherlands. He admitted during a police inquiry that he hacked into the Bitfinex exchange with a hacking group he was associated with in the Netherlands. As per reports, the FBI and other US agencies are probing the theft of 119,754 Bitcoins (valued at $4.5 billion at present) from the Bitfinex exchange in 2016.