Karnataka Bitcoin Ransom Case: Kidnapped Boy Rescued From Kolar
The Dakshina Kannada police have cracked the kidnapping case of a eight-year old boy whose abductors sought ransom in bitcoins, the police said.
The boy was traced in Kurnahosahalli hamlet in Maluru of Kolar district, which is 54 kms from tech hub Bengaluru and he was reunited with his family in Belthangady, said the police.
The case gained lot of public attention due to the abductors demanding ransom in bitcoins, a kind of digital cryptocurrency.
The police said that at around 5 am on Saturday morning, after ensuring that the kidnappers and inmates in the house were fast asleep, the joint police team of Kolar and Dakshin Kannada districts raided the house and rescued the boy from the clutches of his kidnappers.
The kidnappers had demanded ransom of 100 bitcoins, valued around Rs 17 crore initially and later the gang kept revising their demand downward from Rs 17 crore to Rs 10 Crore and finally "agreed" for Rs 25 lakhs.
The police have arrested six persons in connection with this case, two from Bengaluru and four from Maluru, who were with the boy. All six are highly tech-savvy, the police added.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bantwala Subdivision, Valentine D'souza who led the four teams comprising of 20 policemen to track this case told IANS that after the boy was kidnapped at around 6:30 pm on Thursday from near his house, the police took this up as a challenge since this is the first time in the state any kidnapper had demanded ransom in a virtual currency.
He added that the Bantwala police first tracked down who and how they got a whiff about the child, whose father had been dealing in bitcoins since 2016.
"This gang had kept track of the movement of the family for quite some time and they cultivated a few friends in the process here. One of them happened to reveal that this gang had inquired a lot about the father and his dealings, which co-related with our investigations too," the Dy. SP said.
Another police officer told IANS that the gang had developed contact with a local autorickshaw driver, and through him they collected all the information. He not only helped the police get their original number but also tracked them through CCTV footage.
The police added that the panicked gang took NH-73, that connects Belthangady, Mangaluru and Tumkuru, the police followed them here and they took shelter in Kurnahosahalli, which is hamlet of just about 150 houses and a population of less than 1000 people.
"This village is strategically located where one can easily slip to Chennai or towards Andhra Pradesh," the police said.
The Dakshin Kannada police is yet to secure the kidnappers as they were produced before the Kolar district court.