The arrest of five people by Maharashtra Electronic Police in connection with a loan application scam has peeked into the world of “collection agents” whose abusive and threatening phone calls allegedly prompted at least eight people, including one in Mumbai, to commit suicide worldwide. across the country in the past 18 months. Police found that most of these clients are men in their early twenties, well educated and charged with making Whatsapp calls from their homes with the goal of a daily collection of Rs 40,000. Police also found that in order to evade detection, the accused are using strangers’ Whatsapp number by tricking them into giving out the One Time Registration Password (OTP) which they will receive in the form of an SMS.
Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Madhukar Pandey said they registered FIR after a Mumbai resident who took Rs 8,000 from a loan application was harassed by callers despite having paid Rs 93,000. Upon his complaint, the police chose a vegetable seller in the shallows, whose number was used to make these calls.
“However, we found that the person did not even use a smartphone so there was no way to make calls via Whatsapp,” Pandey said. He added that upon further technical investigations, they found that the call was indeed made from Darwad in Karnataka.
Accordingly, a team of police under the supervision of Inspector General (IG) Yashsvi Yadav and Police Director (SP) Sanjay Shanter left for Darwad where they arrested Ahmad Hussain (26 years old), a 12th grade dropout student. “When we questioned him, he told us that he had been hired by Suhail Sayyad (24), an MBA who resides about 150 km away. Then we arrested a fisherman and three others working under him. Two others fled the scene,” said Schenter. The other three are Sayyad Athar, 24, who studied at the Information Technology Institute, Muhammad Qadri, 22, who was a second-year in computer science, and Muftiaz Pirzad, 21, who studied bcom, one of the officers said.
The five defendants were placed under arrest and appeared before the recess court on Sunday, where they were remanded in custody for five days. In the initial investigation, the police found that the defendants collected money from those who borrowed from the Happyloan app. Police suspect that the five defendants are involved in fundraising on behalf of other similar apps. Every morning, the officer said, Sohail Sayyad gave his login ID and password to others under his command to log into a website with caller data. They have set a daily target of collecting Rs 40,000 from defaulters. Officers said they discovered in some cases that money was collected even from those who just downloaded the app and didn’t borrow.
The best of Express Premium
An officer said that as per the complaints sent to Maharashtra from the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCCRP), a total of 2,084 complaints regarding loan applications have been sent to Maharashtra over the past two years. Among these, the Cyber Police found that 27 of the complainants were from all over Mumbai.