Chandigarh: Another Chinese national identified in loan app racket
Identified as Jeffery Jhu, the Chinese national has been involved in money laundering for the syndicate that had been extorting money from people installing their instant loan apps
Probing into the loan app-cum-extortion racket being run by a Chinese national, the cyber cell of Chandigarh Police has identified his compatriot who they say oversaw the transfer of crores through hawala channels.
Identified as Jeffery Jhu, the Chinese national has been involved in money laundering for the syndicate that had been extorting money from people installing their instant loan apps.
The victims would be compromised once they installed the loan apps on their mobile phones, allowing access to their contact lists, camera and photo gallery. The accused would then blackmail the victims for money after morphing their pictures, said investigators.
“Following the arrest of Wan Chengua, we have identified another Chinese national involved in the fraud, Jeffery Jhu. He had left India for China in 2020 and has been managing the syndicate’s money matters from there,” said Ketan Bansal, superintendent of police (SP), cyber crime investigation cell, Chandigarh.
“Anshul Kumar, another arrested accused, was Jhu’s main associate in India. They have laundered around ₹100 crore in the past two years. We have written to Enforcement Directorate, Financial Intelligence Unit and Central Bureau of investigation regarding this,” the police official said.
He added, “Chengua is also working under Jhu, who paid approximately ₹40 lakh to Anshul, who further delivered it to another accused Parvej Alam.”
Operated from Gurgaon for two years
Investigations have found that most of those arrested were employees of a Gurgaon-based firm, PC Finance, where some Chinese nationals also held top positions.
“We have identified three people, Peter, Tray and Nicoholson, who held top positions in the firm. But the company shut down in 2020 and thereafter, they took their operations to China, while making Parvej as the in-charge in India,” said Bansal.
₹50 lakh frozen in 20 accounts
Investigators said all transactions for the extorted money were made through UPI, connected with bank accounts of shell companies. A total of 20 such accounts, holding nearly ₹50 lakh, have been frozen.
Accused used GB Whatsapp for communication
It has also emerged during the probe that the accused were using GB WhatsApp, a modified version of WhatsApp, to communicate among themselves.
“The app does not have a delete option and more number of people can be added to one group,” said Bansal. Similarly, they also used Dingtalk and WeChat applications to maintain secrecy. “The app developers have been contacted for information about their accounts and IP details. We are also working to trace the virtual numbers used by them,” the SP said.
Police have also sent a request to Google to delete the instant loan apps being used in the racket. Named Hugo Loan, Coin Cash, AA Loan, AK Loan, Win Credit, the apps are available for free on Google Playstore.
More trouble for Chengua
The police remand of the three main accused in the case — Wan Chengua, Anshul and Parwej Alam — was extended till Monday by a local court on Friday. The remaining 18 accused were sent to judicial custody.
As Chengua was staying in India on an expired visa since 2020, police have also written to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), Delhi, for his visa and travel history.
“His visa was sent to the FRRO. He will also be booked under Section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act after FRRO’s report,” said Bansal. If proven guilty under the Act, Chengua may face up to five years in jail and fine.
Apart from Chengua, Parwej and Anshul, among the 21 people arrested till now are 13 agents/callers and five managers/team leaders, who were specially hired and trained to call the victims and force, blackmail and threaten them to deposit money again and again.
Their arrest came last week following a 10-day operation spanning five states, including Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh. They are facing separate cases under Sections 384, 419, 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.
₹75,000 award for cyber cell team
Chandigarh DGP Parveer Ranjan on Friday met SP Ketan Bansal and DSP (Cyber) Venkatesh and appreciated their efforts in busting the racket.
He also awarded the entire investigation team with a cash reward of ₹75,000 and first-class certificate for good work.
The probe team includes Cyber Crime police station SHO inspector Ranjit Singh, sub-inspector (SI) KD Singh, SI Parminder Singh, assistant sub-inspector Balwan Singh, head constables Rajender Singh, Bahadur Lal, Balwinder Singh, Sunit, Rampal, Gurmeet Singh and Vikas Bastara, senior constable Sachin, and constables Pramjeet, Vikas Dahiya, Sonit, Baljeet, Sarvind, Veer Davinder, Ashok, Dinesh, Ombir, Manpreet, Kavita.