The extortion investigation of 12 UP MLAs has taken a crypto turn today. Investigative agencies have found that one of the cryptocurrency wallets in which MLAs threatened were asked to deposit money was credited with 7 lakh rupees sometime ago. The entire amount was withdrawn within two weeks, officials investigating the matter told India Today.
The amount, according to information provided by investigators, was deposited to cryptocurrency wallet in question on 3rd of May. It was a deposit of 1.5 BTC, or 7.5 lakh INR approximately. The amount was later withdrawn on 18th of May. The time span corresponds perfectly with the time during which 12 UP MLAs, all of whom belong to Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), were asked to deposit 10 lakh INR each in several different crypto wallets, failing to which would result in their families being “eliminated”. The MLAs threatened include son of Home Minister Rajnath Singh as well as many other prominent leaders of UP BJP.
Sometime later reports of similar threats came from various other parts of country as well, taking the number of threatened leaders to 25. All of them belong to BJP – as many as 22 of them are MLAs, while two are former MLAs and one of them an office bearer of BJP. The extortionist(s) claimed to have their links with Ali Budesh, a notorious extortionist based somewhere in Gulf countries. Budesh, however, refused to have any links with them.
After threats UP Police set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the matter and also asked the Central government to trace this daredevil group of extortionists.
Investigations, however, have turned out to be much more difficult and trickier than anyone would have imagined. Not only it has been a difficult job to establish the money trail and figure out where did the extorted money go, the numbers used by extortionists have also turned out to be fake. It has been revealed by the investigators that proxy servers were used to issue the threats. Taking all of these things into account officials investigating the matter have said that this seems to be a work of professional cybercriminals. All that is known so far is that threats came from Pakistan.
It’s also not known as of now whether the 7 lakh deposited to crypto wallet under scanner were deposited by any of the threatened MLAs or by someone else. Let’s see what happens next in this entire saga. One thing is certain as of now – this crypto turn couldn’t have come at a worst time. The stance of government is already harsh on cryptocurrencies, and now incidents like this are happening to make it even harsher!