Three people arrested over instant advance loan activity for Chinese nationals

CCB officials on Monday arrested three people who were allegedly part of a loan application racket run by Chinese companies.

Police raided businesses in Koramangala and seized equipment, including 35 laptops and 200 cell phones used by the accused.

The defendants, identified as Syed Ahmed, 33, from Shamanna Garden, Syed Irfan, 26, from BTM 2nd Stage, and Aditya Senapathy, 25, from Ramagondanahalli, have been appointed directors of companies owned by Chinese nationals. The accused ran the business using Chinese mobile applications. They were offering instant loans and charging exorbitant interest, police said.

Sandeep Patil, co-commissioner of police, said two Chinese nationals are involved. “The team investigating the case has information about them and they will be arrested soon,” he said.

Police said the accused hired a few BPO companies to handle the process of disbursing and repaying the loan. The defendants would threaten and blackmail customers if they did not pay the EMI. They do not have the required authorization from the competent authority to conduct financial activities, they said.

Based on a complaint filed by three clients, the CCB filed separate files and raided Ace Pearl Service Private Limited, located in Koramangala, and arrested the accused. Police also raided Higeki Service Private Limited, Exceed Will Service Private Limited, Mascot Star Service Private Limited and Aqua Steller Private Limited, which operated mobile loan app services.

Harassment, data theft

Recently, cybercrime detectives from the Department of Criminal Investigation (CID) dismantled an online loan application racket and raided several companies offering instant loans to mobile users at exorbitant interest rates. The racketeering came to light following a complaint by a woman stating that she received a loan using one of the apps and was subsequently harassed despite the loan amount being repaid.

Investigations found that the defendants not only harassed and threatened customers who failed to pay the interest or repay the loan amount, but also hacked their cell phones, including their contacts and photos. Using personal data, they allegedly created a WhatsApp group made up of customer contacts and posted abusive messages against the customer with the customer’s photo, calling them “fraud” or “default”.

The RBI had warned against unauthorized digital lending platforms and mobile apps.

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