Mumbai: four people arrested for “deceiving more than 2 lakhs via bogus loan applications”
Members of a four-person gang led by a Class VIII dropout, who is said to have led one of the biggest cyber rackets in the country in terms of death toll, were recently arrested by Mumbai cyber police from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Police suspect more than 2 lakh of people across the country of having been deceived by the accused in the form of “loan processing fees”.
Gang leader Sanjeev Kumar Singh (36) – who has in the past unsuccessfully contested the UP legislative elections – is said to have created nearly 11 loan applications, as well as engineers and application developers, in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Racketeers offered loans and tricked victims into charging them “loan processing fees,” police said.
DCP (cyber) Rashmi Karandikar said his social analytics team found links to apps like Pradhan Mantri Yojana Loan and Mudra Loan on social media platforms, which claimed to offer loans. Apart from apps, the accused had also set up a website and victims were required to fill in their contact details, after which they would receive a call from two call centers set up by the accused in Jaipur and UP.
“The accused would ask them to pay between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000 as a loan processing fee. As the amount in the individual cases was not that large, many victims either did not report it or thought that their loan application had not been accepted. However, we found that there were 2.5 million downloads of these nine apps alone, in addition to the ones that may have registered on their website, ”Karandikar said.
“The accused had also published advertisements for these loans in two newspapers. They spent almost Rs 30 lakh to advertise these bogus loan applications in newspapers and social networks to attract more people from all over the country, ”Karandikar said.
The police team found 25 electronic wallets and bank accounts through which the money was fraudulently channeled. The defendants withheld their identities and opened these bank accounts by creating false documents, police said.
Another victim of this scam was a young man from Pune, whose mobile number had been mentioned in the application created by the accused. Some of the victims, who did not hear from the accused, started calling the youth’s number and threatening to return their money. The youth is the complainant in the FIR that the cyber police registered in the case.
The four defendants were brought before a court and have been taken into police custody.