Sources report new developments on the 22 MLAs from Uttar Pradesh, India who received threatening messages on WhatsApp. STF sources revealed on Sunday that they have found transactions of over ₹8 lakhs into the Bitcoin account. A source from the Special Task Forces (STF) said,
“During the probe, a cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) account, mentioned in the threat messages to legislators, has been detected. Transactions of 1.60368338 Bitcoins (₹8.16 lakh) were done in this account. And the entire amount was later transferred to some other account.”
They further added that,
“A total of six transactions, between 6.46 PM on May 2 and 4 AM on May 18, were done in the cryptocurrency e-wallet during which Bitcoin was received and sent through different e-wallets. One transaction each was done on May 2, 3, 4, and 18 and two transactions on May 17.”
The task force is investigating to ascertain the where the transactions originated from. The state police suspect this to be the work of professional hackers looking to create panic among the citizens. They have even issued an advisory asking people not to panic.
Pravin Kumar, the DIG (Law and Order) of Uttar Pradesh said,
“An advisory has been issued across the state asking all not to get panicked over such messages. Prima facie, it appears to be the handiwork of some mischief makers.”
The extortionist, claiming to be Ali Baba Budhesh demanded a ransom of 10 lakhs to be deposited into a Bitcoin account. Ali Baba Budhesh alias Ali Budhesh Bhai is an associate of criminal mastermind and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. It’s not yet confirmed if the extortionist is indeed Ali Baba Budhesh or someone using his name. The case is currently being probed by the Special Task Force (STF), Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) as well as central intelligence agencies.
Bitcoin extortion seems to be on the rise with this being the third such case in the country in the past few months. Crypto crimes (criminal activities involving cryptocurrency), need to checked or it’ll lead to them being heavily regulated or worse, banned.