HYDERABAD, Dec 23: In a crackdown on instant personal loan apps, Telangana Police arrested 17 people in raids conducted in Hyderabad and Gurugram.
While Hyderabad police arrested 11 people in raids in Hyderabad and Gurugram, remaining were taken into custody by Cyberabad police during raids in Hyderabad.
The action came after three persons committed suicide due to harassment by the employees of online loan apps last week. A techie and a woman government employee were among those who ended their lives.
City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said four companies had hired around 1,100 executives to run the multi-crore illegal businesses through which thousands of people were victimised across the country.
The companies were identified as Liufang Technologies Private Ltd, Hotful Technologies Private Ltd, Pinpoint Technologies, and Nabloom Technologies Private Ltd and were registered in Bengaluru.
The police chief said that the Cyber Crime Police Station had recently registered nearly 16 FIRs pertaining to issue of loans by alleged unauthorised loan apps and harassment of the victims by the companies running the apps through their call centres.
Police raided two locations in Gurugram and three locations in Hyderabad which were running organised tele caller centres. These call centres were being used to persuade, harass and intimidate the loan defaulters.
Eleven heads and important members of the call centres were arrested.
"These callers took instructions from their heads in Indonesia. The entire operation of these loan apps appears to be run with Chinese nationals at the helm. This was also indicated during investigation into the multi-crore colour prediction gaming app scam where crores of rupees were transferred to shell companies which were registered as NBFCs," the police commissioner said.
The raids on the call centres led to seizure of nearly 700 laptops, servers, computer systems, etc. Further investigation is on to find out the web of financial transactions, funding, technology base, etc.
Meanwhile, Cyberabad police arrested six persons connected with loan apps Cash Mama, Loan Zone and Dhana Dhan. Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar said Onion Credit Private Ltd and Cred Fox Technologies Pvt Ltd were connected with these apps.
The arrests were made in connection with the complaint received by Cyber Crime police station of Cyberabad on December 7. The complainant alleged that the operators of loan apps were blackmailing and threatening him.
The two companies had two offices with 110 employees. They had entered into agreements with nine NBFCs.
Both the companies have 1.5 lakh customers, of which about 70,000 are active.
They developed their own apps for maintaining the database of the customers and placed them in Google Play Store for easy download and available to customers.
According to police, the accused were offering small loan amounts with different apps and collecting repayments by way of harassment and blackmailing.
Police has issued notice to nine NBFCs who had a tie-up with 'Cash Mama' and 'Loan Zone'.
A notice has also been issued to Google to take down the applications because of their criminal activities.
Police have seized 18 bank accounts and frozen an amount of Rs 1.52 crore. - IANS