The Pune police have busted a call centre dealing with instant loan apps that offered small loans in Bengaluru and arrested 18 people involved in issuing threats and harassing defaulters, an official said on Friday.
The cyber police station in Pune has received more than 4,700 cases from 2020 to 2022, in which people complained of abuse and harassment by loan apps, Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said.
According to the police, applications offering small instant loans (Rs 500 to Rs 7,000) are available on app stores on mobile phones.
"These apps seek access to the camera, photos, contacts and storage on mobile phones. The apps levy huge interests, processing charges and resort to harassment and threaten defaulters," Gupta said.
The constant harassment and threats have resulted in several suicides and murders across the country and one such incident of suicide was reported in Pune, he said.
"While investigating a case, we formed a team under deputy commissioner of police (Cyber) Bhagyashri Navtake and assistant commissioner of police (Cyber) Vijay Palsule to trace these online fraudsters and tracked down seven people, in whose accounts the defaulters were forced to deposit money," the official said.
The seven accused were arrested from different locations such as Solapur, Pune, Bengaluru, and Kerala, he said.
"The probe revealed that bank accounts were opened in the name of labourers, and defaulters were instructed to deposit the money in them. Similarly, SIM cards were procured in the names of labourers and calls were from these phone numbers to threaten defaulters," Gupta said.
During investigations, the police found a call centre operating out of Bengaluru, where raids were conducted recently and 11 people were apprehended, he said.
"We have seized the data of more than 1 lakh customers from the accused at the call centre," the official said, adding that Rs 70 lakh have been seized from the accounts in which defaulters deposited money.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)