Pune police bust call centre of instant loan apps, 18 held
The Pune cyber police has received 4,778 complaints related to harassment, threats and abuse by loan app operatives since 2020
The Pune cyber police have arrested 18 persons in the loan app harassment case. As many as 4,778 Punekars have lodged cases with the Pune cyber police related to harassment, threats and abuse by loan app operatives since 2020.
Earlier, the cyber police busted a loan app call centre in Bengaluru in a case where the loan app gang members tried to extort a sum of ₹1.11 lakh from a woman on August 16. Action is being taken against the organised loan app syndicate in the backdrop of the Enforcement Directorate (ED)-led central government agencies taking stringent action against groups engaged in abusing and blackmailing gullible citizens under the guise of instant loans. The cyber police have seized nearly ₹69 lakh from these fraudsters during operations that are still underway to find out the masterminds behind the scam.
Earlier, Viignesh Manjunath, Ganesh Subbaraidu, Akash M V, Shraddha Sudhakar Gowda, Parvati Santosh Das, Ashwini D Murugan, Shilpa Subhash Gowda, Priya S and Deepika L - all residents of Bengaluru - were arrested by the cyber police for extortion, fraud, defamation and intimidation under the Information Technology (IT) Act. Now, nine more persons have been arrested, including Syed Aquib Pasha, Mubarak Afroz Baig, Swapnil Hanumant Nagtilak, Srikrushna Bhimanna Gaikwad, Dhiraj Bharat Punekar, Pramod James Ransingh, Samuel Sampat Kumar, Mujeeb Baraband Kandiyal and Mohammad Maniyat.
Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “According to our assessment, around 1 lakh Punekars have been harassed by loan app fraudsters during the year. The gang operates at a highly professional level and has dedicated teams to do the job. One team operates at the ground level while the other one looks at bank accounts. There is a separate team for data collection and running of call centre operations. So far, two cases have been lodged in the city and on an average, 25 persons have been approaching the police daily, complaining about harassment by loan app representatives over the past two months.”
Informing the court about the modus operandi of these scamsters, the police said that there several loan apps available on ‘playstore’ where people need to just download and accept all conditions by allowing the apps access to their personal data. The loan providers charge a high rate of interest and if anyone fails to repay or is delayed doing so, the harassment begins in that the loan app representatives call or message all of the said person’s contacts. These fraudsters gain access to the victims’ personal data, including contact lists, personal photographs and videos. Even in cases where people do not avail loans, the loan app operatives morph their pictures with obscene content and circulate amongst friends and family. They blackmail and extort money from the victims by asking them to credit the amount in various bank accounts via online transactions.