Two more persons, including a Chinese national, were arrested on Wednesday in Hyderabad as part of investigations against instant app-based lenders accused of harassing borrowers over repayment, police said. With this, 16 people have been arrested in 27 cases registered by the Hyderabad police so far. A preliminary investigation into the financial transactions has revealed that close to 1.4 crore transactions worth nearly Rs 21,000 crore had taken place so far through multiple apps, a release from Hyderabad police said.
On December 22, the Hyderabad police said it had arrested 11 people from five call centres located in Gurgaon, Haryana and in Hyderabad, which were being used to persuade, harass and intimidate loan defaulters. The call centres were being run on behalf of four companies. The Cyber Crime police station 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.
On Wednesday, the 27-year-old Chinese national was intercepted at Delhi Airport as he was trying to leave the country, police said, adding he was overall head of operations of those 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.
With regard to the financial transactions, police said these volumes of transactions have happened over payment gateways and bank accounts linked to these companies. "A large number of international transactions have also happened through bitcoins. 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. Since December 25, two Chinese nationals including a woman were arrested in different cases.
According to police, the lending companies through instant loan apps offered loans to individuals and levied huge interest and processing charges, among others, and resorted to systematic abusing, harassing and threatening the defaulters through the call centres.
The crackdown against instant money lending apps firms has been launched after three cases of suicides, including that of a software engineer, due to harassment by such companies were reported in Telangana in the last one month.
Cases have been registered in various police stations in the state based on several complaints that these firms allegedly obtained sensitive data such as contacts, photos from mobile phones of customers and using them to defame or blackmail to get the loan repayment.