Reports have surfaced alleging that Pakistani police have been involved in the kidnapping of a university professor, with the criminals demanding a Bitcoin ransom for his safe return.
Professor Shahid Naseer, an information technology teacher, was kidnapped on March 19. The suspects then demanded a ransom of Rs 20 million crore in Bitcoin.
Reportedly, the plot had been hatched inside of the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office in Lahore. A police report revealed that the DC’s phone operator – Mazhar Abbas – was part of the seven-member crime ring.
Police arrested Mazhar Abbas on March 23 at an official ceremony where he was attending with the DC.
According to the report, police constables Mohsin Abbas and Mohammad Arif – who allegedly were also involved in the kidnapping – were the official guards of a high court judge.
Faisal Yousuf, a student of Professor Naseer, is also a suspect in the case.
The report contains recommendations for senior members of the police and stipulates it is the first case of its kind in the country. It also suggests it could boost the trend of using digital currencies for ransom, terror, and other illicit activities.
Saddar Division SP (Investigation) Rashid Hidayat has said six suspects, including the primary suspect, had been arrested alongside the safe recovery of Professor Naseer.
Mr Hidayat told news outlet Dawn that Faisal Yousuf planned to kidnap his teacher and engaged the other suspects for the same purpose. They rented a car from Sheikhupura and brought it to the DC’s office where Abbas removed its license plate and replaced it with a green one.
The suspects took Professor Naseer to Sheikhupura to execute their plan of obtaining the ransom. The SP revealed that the next day, the complainant of the case – Asmar Sheikh – received a call from Professor Naseer and the crime ring who demanded the ransom.
He reportedly said the kidnappers received the first installment of Rs 2.3 million crore and were in contact with the family for the remainder of the payment.
Mr Hidayat informed Dawn that three teams of expert police officials managed to trace the culprits using digital technology before arresting them.
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