A collection of bitcoin tokens stand in this arranged photograph (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Indian Crypto Exchange Coinsecure Suspects Hand Of Executive In Rs 19-Crore Bitcoin Theft

About 438 bitcoins worth about Rs 19 crore were stolen from Coinsecure and the Indian cryptocurrency exchange suspects the involvement of a senior executive.

The Delhi-based cryptocurrency exchange filed an FIR on April 10 with the cyber cell accusing its Chief Scientific Officer Amitabh Saxena of siphoning off the money from the firm’s wallet. “We regret to inform you that our Bitcoin funds [worth $2.9 million] have been exposed and seem to have been siphoned out to an address that is outside our control,” said a copy of the FIR uploaded on the company’s website.

The private key—the password or the secret number—stored by the company was leaked, resulting in the hack, it said. “As the private keys are kept with Dr. Amitabh Saxena, we feel that he is making a false story to divert our attention and he might have a role to play in this entire incident,” according to the copy of the FIR uploaded on the website. “The incident reported by Dr. Amitabh Saxena does not seem convincing to us.”

The heist comes just days after the Reserve Bank of India barred regulated entities from dealing with an individual or business related to virtual currencies. This covers banks, non banking financial companies, payment banks and mobile wallets.

Coinsecure asked the government to seize Saxena's passport, suggesting that he may leave the country. The exchange has been shut after the hack.

Saxena couldn’t be reached through Coinsecure. The exchange didn’t respond to BloombergQuint’s emailed queries.