A special team of the state crime branch will investigate the online loan app scams in Kerala. The team is led by an IG rank officer and has been set up to inquire complaints on loan app frauds raised in different districts of Kerala, says State Police Chief Loknath Behera.
The high-level team comprises Crime Branch Ernakulam Range IG Gopesh Kumar who will lead the special operations team. Deputy Inspector General of Police Ernakulam Range Kaliraj Mahesh Kumar, and Crime Branch Superintendents of Police Sabu Mathew, MJ Sojan and Deputy Superintendents of Police P Vikraman, KR Biju and P Anil Kumar are also part of the team.
There is a suspicion that an online fraud, where customers are being robbed of money, was being carried out with the help of those from other states and even international countries. Therefore, the investigation will also receive the support of the Interpol, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other state police forces.
The Kerala State Chief of Police has also directed that all the complaints on the loan app scam received in different districts of the state to be transferred to the special Crime Branch team.
The scam involves unlawful interest rates offered through mobile apps, to mainly play online games including rummy, etc. These apps have made it easier to play on credit if users do not have cash in hand to transfer. The loan is available within minutes for daily interest rates. In between these online games, advertisements for loan apps are also leading to young users being deceived.
Earlier this month, a 25-year-old man took his own life after losing a huge amount of money in online rummy. The man was identified as 25-year-old Vineeth, a Thiruvananthapuram native who worked as a contract staff of ISRO. According to reports, for over 1 year, Vineeth used to play online rummy. During the coronavirus lockdown, he played the game for a huge sum and as a result incurred a debt of Rs 12 lakh. However, he continued to play the game and his debt increased. With mounting debts, the deceased also faced issues with his family which finally led him to end his life.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.