VIJAYAWADA: Four members of a gang from Maharashtra were arrested for their involvement in operating two illegal mobile loan applications and harassing people to clear debts, police said on Saturday. The accused have been identified as Nilesh Vilas Gorade (prime accused), Amit Sunil Gavli, Sarfaraj Azeej Shaik and Ramdas Dattatreya Daradas, all from Sinnar in Maharashtra. They were reportedly operating the businesses of Well Credit and FF Loan App.
Krishna district SP Palle Jashuva said another accused Omkar Shankar Mule is in jail, while Jaiveer— a gang member — is absconding. Explaining their modus operandi, Jashuva said Gorade along with Jaiveer formed a team and posted some links related to loans on Facebook.
“If anyone in need of money clicked the link, an app will be installed in their phones. It will seek permission to access data related to photos, contacts and location from the applicant and store it. The accused would use the data and create fake videos to threaten borrowers and extort money,” the SP said.
Police initiated probe after two women lodged separate complaints against the apps with Penamaluru and Atkuru police. They came across a weblink on Facebook and clicked on it as the advertisement claimed to issue loans at low interest without the need for submitting income proofs.
“The women, in dire need of money, clicked on the link and were redirected to the app’s download page. The accused extended loan of Rs 7,000 to one woman and Rs 3,360 to the other, while they forced to repay Rs 16,270 and Rs 7,000, respectively, in a week. When they failed to pay the money on time, the accused reportedly sent the morphed photographs and videos of the women to their friends and families, threatening them to make a payment through a link they had sent,” the SP said.
“We traced the accounts the money was credited into and the phone numbers they used to call the women. They have been operating from two places -- Kolkata in West Bengal and Sinnar in Maharashtra. A hunt is on to arrest Jaiveer,” the SP said.
Dial 1930 to report cybercrime
Jashuva appealed to the public not to borrow money from unregistered loan apps and urged them to report harassment by dialling cybercrime reporting number: 1930 or AP Cyber Mithra number: 9121211100 or 100