The Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operation (IFSO) of Delhi Police announced on Monday that they have dismantled an extortion gang that had defrauded approximately 2,000 individuals across the country under the guise of providing instant loans, police said.
The police have apprehended six members of the gang, who operated from different regions in India. The criminals had set up fraudulent companies and opened bank accounts in order to carry out their illegal activities. It has been uncovered that approximately Rs 350 crore (around $47 million) was funneled through these accounts, they said.
Police said that the arrested individuals have been identified as Mustajab Gulam Mohammed Naviwala, Anisbhai Ashrafbhai Vinchhi, Gokul Biswas, Ashok, Balwant, and Nitin. According to law enforcement officials, the gang is responsible for defrauding 1,977 people nationwide.
The investigation was initiated when a person named Jai Goyal reported that individuals were blackmailing and extorting money from citizens by illicitly gaining access to their mobile data through a loan application called Cash Advance, said police.
They said that the gang enticed users with short-term loans at extremely low-interest rates through the application, exploiting the opportunity to access their personal data during installation. After providing the loan digitally, the criminals would subsequently raise the interest rates significantly. Even after borrowers repaid the loan, they would be coerced into paying more money or face blackmail using manipulated pictures.
The accused individuals played various roles within the gang. Gokul, Mustajab, Anisbhai, Ashok, and Balwant registered fake companies and opened bank accounts, circulating approximately Rs 350 crore through them. Out of this amount, Rs 83 crore was distributed as microloans to different individuals after deducting commissions. Nitin, who had previously worked as a team leader in a Chinese loan application company, possessed knowledge of loan applications and the recovery process, said the police.
As a result of the police investigation, raids were conducted in different locations to apprehend the gang members. Seven mobile phones, one laptop, 15 debit cards, and a total of Rs 60 lakh (around $80,000) of the defrauded money have been seized and frozen in various bank accounts. (With inputs from PTI)