The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Odisha police has arrested proprietor of IWT India from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh for allegedly cheating people through a fake loan mobile app, the police said on Friday.
The accused identified as Mohd Javed Saifi was arrested on April 4 for his role in lending money at a high interest rate and harassing the defaulters through coercive methods.
The arrest was made on the basis of complaints filed by victims and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relating to illegal functioning of loan apps which are not registered as non-banking financial companies (NBFC) under the RBI Act.
The EOW Bhubaneswar took up investigation in respect of one such loan app Koko and its sister version called Jojo. More than 1.5 lakh people, including many from Odisha, have downloaded the two fraud loan Apps.
The IWT India was working as a shell company to divert the money and its proprietor Saifi used to get a small commission for it, the police officials said.
The police found that crores of rupees had been transacted through the account of IWT India, and Saifi, the account holder, was not able to give satisfactory answers about the transactions, it said.
During investigation, the EOW found that the apps offered small loan amounts ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 to its customers through their bank accounts through UPI or a link.
After the money was credited to customers' bank accounts, officials of the two apps asked them to return the loan amount at a high rate of interest within a week.
When the customers confronted them over the high-interest rate, the officials began harassing them. Obscene messages and indecent pictures along with abusive texts are sent to customers' whatsapp number and as well as to his contact list, the EOW officials stated.
All the said transactions were made using many layers to confuse the police/ law enforcement agencies.
In this regard, as the first step to prevent further extortion and illegal money lending, the EOW had frozen an amount of Rs 6.57 crore in different accounts of the accused company.
"As the fraud company/App has used many complicated and technical routes in order to evade detection and confuse police, we are taking help of technical experts, bank officials and chartered accountants etc," they said.
Further, three special teams of the economic offence wing have been working on this case in different states like Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi.
The state police officials are also in touch with Telangana/ Hyderabad police for further investigation in this case.