Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar, Addl. CP (Crimes and SIT) Shikha Goel and Jt. CP (DD) Avinash Mohanty with the seized devices at a press conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
3 centres in Hyderabad employed nearly 600 telecallers; these companies took instructions from their heads in Jakarta
In a swift action, the police of Hyderabad and Cyberabad on Tuesday arrested 17 people, including several heads of app-based instant loan companies, for their role in lending money at a high interest rate and harassing the defaulters through coercive methods.
Acting on a spate of complaints from debtors, who were allegedly harassed by the lenders, the police during country-wide raids picked up the promoters of several such online-loaning firms and their call centres.
Cyber Crime police of Hyderabad raided two places at Udyog Vihar in Gurugram and three places in Hyderabad resulting in the arrest of 11 people working for Liofang Technologies Private Limited, Hotful Technologies Private Limited, Pinprint Technologies and Nabloom Technologies Private Limited.
17 arrested in instant mobile loan app fraud
All the four companies registered in Bengaluru were being used to persuade, harass and intimidate loan defaulters at various stages, Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar said.
While the three centres in Hyderabad employed nearly 600 telecallers, the centres in Gurugram had over 500 people, all aged between 18 and 22 years.
Explaining the overseas links of these companies, which appointed Indian nationals as dummy directors on behest of the Chinese, the city police chief said that these companies took instructions from their heads in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“The entire operation of these loan apps appears to be run by Chinese nationals at the helm. Same was indicated during the investigation into the colour prediction gaming apps scam in which crores of rupees were transferred to shell companies, which were registered as NBFCs,” Mr. Kumar said.
Police seized over 700 laptops, servers, computer payday loans Napoleon Ohio systems and other electronic devices from the call centres of both the places.
Stating that they would further shift their focus on the web of financial transactions, funding, and technology base, Joint CP (Detective Department) Avinash Mohanty said that they were analysing the data in a reserve process.
Unlike the gaming scam where Chinese nationals were directly involved, here they have cleverly managed to keep Indians as the company leads to divert the attention of enforcement agencies, he said. Declaring the functioning of the apps as ‘typical financial fraud’, Mr. Mohanty said that the call centres in question were working for 30 apps and police were screening 10 bank accounts and 70 to 80 online wallets of these companies.
Earlier, Cyberabad police announced the arrest of six people, including the CEO of an app-based instant loan company, for their ‘illegal’ operation and cheating borrowers. 18 bank accounts of the accused firms with a deposit of ?1.52 crore, were frozen, Commisisoner of Police V.C. Saja, Loan Zone, Dhana Dhan are some of the loan apps developed and operated by K. Sharath Chandra of Onion Credit Pvt. Ltd., who also owned CRED FOX Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Chandra started two offices with 110 employees, and his elderly mother Pushpalatha, who was also arrested, was one of the directors. His companies entered into agreements with nine Delhi-based NBFCs for Cash Mama and Loan Zone, while operations of Dhana Dhan were illegal, DCP (Crimes) Rohini Priyadarshini said.
They have over 1.5 lakh customers and at least 70,000 active customers from across the country with an annual turnover of more than ?40 crore.
Chandra, who pursued his masters from the United States, started the app developing companies two years ago, after working as an accountant in a private firm here. Police also issued notices to all NBFCs and their managing directors. Google was asked to take down the applications because of their criminal activities.