Saturday, February 27

Loan apps scam: Chinese national arrested at Delhi airport

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The Hyderabad police on Wednesday arrested a Chinese national in connection with its probe related to mobile applications providing instant loans through their call centres. These approval of loans is quickly done on these platforms but the lenders then harass the borrowers over repayment. The police launched its investigation after several such cases were reported.

The 27-year-old Chinese national was intercepted at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport as he was trying to leave the country, police said, adding that he was overall head of operations of loan apps being run by the four companies.

Another person, a native of Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, who played a key role in operation of the call centres, was also arrested, police said.

The Cyber Crime Police Station in Hyderabad is probing as many as 27 cases pertaining to issue of loans by alleged unauthorised loan apps and harassment of the borrowers by the companies running the apps through their call centres.

A preliminary investigation into the financial transactions has revealed that close to 1.4 crore transactions worth nearly Rs 21,000 crore have taken place so far, a release from Hyderabad police said.

Bulk of transactions have taken place over the last six months and further investigation is continuing, police said.

Police said the probe has also revealed that another Chinese national had set up operations in India and is presently abroad.

On December 22, the Hyderabad police had arrested 11 people of five call centres located in Gurgaon, Haryana and in Hyderabad, who were being used to persuade, harass and intimidate the loan defaulters.

The crackdown on the loan apps began after three cases of suicide, including that of a software engineer, were reported in last one month. According to police, the engineer had borrowed Rs 8 lakh from an app that promised quick loans. When Covid-19 hit the country, the man lost his job and could not meet the repayment deadlines. With interest, the man owed the app company Rs 11 lakh.

Police said he was harassed with many calls demanding repayment and soon got to know that several of his contacts had received messages branding him a “fraudster”.