The Western Region cyber police have busted an interstate loan app racket with the arrest of nine accused from various states, while five more are still wanted. The police have found over 350 bank accounts that were being used by the accused, while also freezing Rs 14 crore in these accounts.
The police said that investigations against the accused were initiated earlier this year after a Mumbai resident registered a complaint with them.
“The complainant had borrowed Rs 3.84 lakh from 10 different loan apps for his mother’s medical treatment as well as his personal needs. With interest, and due to various threats, including sextortion tactics, the complainant had paid Rs 22 lakh to the accused but was still being pressurised. The harassment was underway since September 2021,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP, cyber) Hemraj Rajput.
The police, while investigating the racket, first identified the recovery agents who were harassing the complainant, and through further inquiries, found out that they were part of a larger and more organised racket.
Officials said there were different modules that were given different tasks, like approaching prospective victims, issuing threats and approaching people in the contacts list of victims to further harass them.
“Around 200 shell companies were set up to streamline the entire process and massive amounts of money were being earned and moved on a daily basis, in the form of regular money as well as cryptocurrency. The money that was obtained forcibly from the victims was diverted to over 50 cryptocurrency wallets,” DCP Rajput said.
After gathering all relevant information, the police started conducting raids across the country and arrested nine accused from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurugram and Uttarakhand.
The police have now sealed around 350 bank accounts, frozen Rs 14 crore in regular money and Rs 2.17 lakh in USDT, which is the standard unit for measuring cryptocurrency, while also seizing 211 SIM cards, 39 mobile phones, 19 laptops and two hard drives as evidence. The police said that five more accused are still wanted in the case.