The Hyderabad and Cyberabad police on Tuesday arrested 17 people, including many heads of app-based instant loan firms, for their role in lending money at high rates and harassing defaulters.
The Cyber Crime police picked up such online-firms and their call centres during their country-wide raids based on the complaints filed by debtors, who were allegedly harassed by the lenders, reported India Today.
The police said that the accused would adopt different methods, including issuing threats and hurling abuses to recover the amount from the people.
They would also access contacts of the victim's friends and relatives and send them WhatsApp messages to defame the defaulter.
The police raided two locations in Udyog Vihar and Gurugram, based on inputs, and three locations in Hyderabad that were running organised call centres for this purpose.
According to the police, the centre in Gurugram employed 500 telephone callers (tele callers), and the centres in Hyderabad employed nearly 600 tele callers.
"These call centres were being used to persuade, harass and intimidate people who had defaulted on loans. The call centres were being run on behalf of four companies," said Hyderabad Police Commissioner Ajani Kumar.
While the Hyderabad Police have alone arrested 11 people in connection to these centres, the Cyberabad Police has arrested six people, including CEO of an app company, in connection with the apps that extend instant personal loans.
"These tele callers used to take instructions from their superiors in Indonesia. The entire operation of these loan apps appears to have been run with Chinese nationals at the helm. This was also indicated during an investigation into the multi-crore colour prediction gaming app scam where crores of rupees were transferred to shell companies which were registered as NBFCs," Anjani Kumar said.
Police have seized nearly 700 laptops, servers, computer systems etc. from the accused.