In January, Crime Branch of the Delhi Police received a complaint from Joy Pereira, a resident of Palghar in Maharashtra, alleging that he had been cheated of Rs 83,630 on the pretext of providing a loan on low interest rate.
Mr Pereira told police that he had applied for a personal loan of Rs 4 lakh from a Delhi-based finance company after reading a newspaper advertisement, DCP (Crime) Madhur Verma said.
"They were offering loan on an interest rate of two per cent per annum. When Pereira inquired about the reason for the low rate of interest, they said that it was NRI money," said Mr Verma.
They asked the complainant to pay a processing free of Rs 4,500 after which they sent an agreement asking him to pay Rs 15,780. They then demanded Rs 27,350 for advocate fees. The accused asked him to also arrange three bank guarantors but he cited his inability to do so.
On which, Mr Pereira was told that the firm would arrange three guarantors but he would have to pay Rs 36,000. The money paid by the complainant went into separate accounts being operated from banks in Ghaziabad of Uttar Pradesh.
One of the accused, Ravi Kumar, introduced himself as Mr Bansal, a coordinator of the leading finance company and demanded Rs 36,000 more.
Irked by constant demands for money, Mr Pereira asked him to cancel the loan process and return his money.
Mr Pereira also investigated on his end and found that one of the accounts was opened by a man based in Jagatpuri and then he lodged a complaint with Delhi Police, the DCP said.
A team was constituted to nab the accused under the supervision of ACP Anand Kumar Mishra.
A vital lead was found in the case when police started scanning details of bank accounts in which the victims deposited money.
While the guarantors for rest of the bank accounts had fake addresses, one of the accounts had a guarantor, whose identity and address were found to be genuine and through him, police managed to find the accused, said another officer.
While three of the accused were arrested from Bulandshahar, the fourth accused was arrested from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh respectively during the last week.
On the basis of some leads, police arrested Krishan Pal alias Fauji (42) on April 6. Later his associates - Ravi Kumar (27), Tikshnapal (24) and Rajneesh Prakash (35) - were arrested, he said.
They would use names of popular loan companies and their logos to win the trust of victims, the officer said.
One of the investigators said that the accused did not open accounts in bank branches in Delhi.
Out of the 300 victims, police have identified 100 victims are from various places like Mumbai, Bhopal, etc. The accused were operating this racket since 2011 and had opened 36 bank accounts in different banks on forged IDs. They used to withdraw money from the accounts quickly.
Even after the demonetisation move of the Centre, they managed to withdraw huge amounts of money despite being a cap on withdrawals.
The accused were friends with a petrol pump attendant in Uttar Pradesh. After the noteban, for all the cash payments made at the petrol pump, the attendant would swipe the debit cards of the accused and hand over the cash paid to him by the customer.
"The attendant used to keep a part of the money for himself. He is also likely to be arrested soon," said another officer.
Tikshnapal and Mr Kumar were earlier arrested in 2015 in Ropar district in Punjab in 2015 in a cheating case. Mr Pal is wanted in a cheating case by Bhopal Police.
Police have recovered fake voter cards, PAN cards and other documents from the accused persons. He was a driver with the Army and retired in 2013 after serving for 17 years. Police suspect that there are 10-12 more persons who are involved in the racket and more arrests are likely to be made.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)