Mangaluru explosion probe: Cryptocurrency use under lens; funding likely from Middle East

In a massive breakthrough for the central agencies in connection with the Mangaluru blast case, details have emerged that the funding was done from the Middle East by using cryptocurrency.

Republic TV has learned that the main accused Shareeq and gang received and made transactions through online cryptocurrency and the dark web as physical handling of cash would have raised suspicion. He used to trade mainly in bitcoins. The dark web was used in order to conceal the dark web as it will be difficult to trace the IP address and transactional details. The funds were likely transferred and financed by the accused’s handlers who are based in the Middle East. It is pertinent to mention, not just Mangaulu but Shareeq also used cryptocurrency funding in Shivamogga and Mysuru blast. 

Notably, Abdul Mateen Ahmed Taha, who is Shareeq’s International handler and belongs to the Al Hind module of ISIS is an expert in the dark web. He has been accused of funding and financing terror activities carried out by the accused Shareeq and gang. 

The central agencies have set up a team to probe the digital trade of the transaction that happened and also about the purchase of pieces of equipment for the blast that took place via the dark web. 

Crypto funding under scanner in Manglauru Blast

Republic TV spoke exclusively to Cyber expert Mukesh Chaudhary said, “First of all, it’s complex for a law enforcement or intelligence agency to trace the dark web and cryptocurrency network. Earlier also, there were instances related to cryptocurrency funding wherein Al-Qaeda used its own cryptocurrency exchanges which are tough to track and investigate as the anonymity level in such transactions is very high. It is also difficult to trace the location of the person who is sending and receiving the money across the globe. If they are communicating over the dark web they are protected by the onion network that has multiple layers and it gets tough to track the person. This the reason why this network is used and transactions are made through the dark web”.

As of now, three more people have been detained by the Mangaluru police and are being questioned as they were in contact with Shareeq. Among those detained is the owner of the house Mohan Kumar where the prime accused stayed in Mysuru’s Lok Nayak Nagar. Police also detained Mohammed Ruhulla who was in constant touch with Shareeq and was responsible to provide logistics and taking care of Shareeq’s lodging. Moreover, Ruhulla has been accused of delivering explosive materials to Shareeq’s doorsteps who would then assemble them to carry out the attacks. He was picked up by the Police in Bengaluru and is now being questioned by the Mangaluru Police as he is being considered the second biggest accused.