'Strip over video call and get waivers': Loan sharks in Telangana harass woman defaulters

Inquiries revealed that the lenders gain access to the victim's contact list on mobile phone, when they apply for loan.

Published: 19th December 2020 09:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th December 2020 09:51 AM   |  A+A-

Rape, sexual harassment

For representational purposes. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Availing micro loans through mobile applications has become an easy process in the digital era, but if repayment of the amount is delayed or not done, the applicants are subjected to extreme harassment by the online lenders. In case of women defaulters, the harassment is worse. The lenders send obscene pictures to them and even ask the clients to strip and make video calls, to get the loan waived off.

Harassment by these lenders have already claimed four lives in Telangana, the latest being a techie from Rajendranagar, as per police records. Eddu Srawan Yadav, 23, a farmer from Medak district, and Kirni Mounika, a government employee from Siddipet, being the other victims. According to unconfirmed reports, another suicide was reported in erstwhile Medak district.

ALSO READ| Branded loan defaulter, Hyderabad techie hangs self to death

In Telangana, mobile applications disbursing micro-loans have tie up with different non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) which are allowed to disburse loans, but there is no clarity if they can use digital platforms for the process. Several complaints have been lodged with three police commissionerates in the city and police found that students, unemployed youths, and budding entrepreneurs, are mostly targeted by these apps.

Cyberabad DCP (Crimes) Rohini Priyadarshini said that while investigating the cases registered with them they found the apps were being operated from Hyderabad. They have already seized documents and mobile phones used by the lenders for harassing the loan applicants.

"Further investigation is underway. Meanwhile, anyone who is facing issues with the apps, is requested to approach the police and action will be taken," she said. Cyberabad police had also written to RBI to verify the authenticity of the NBFCs, through which such apps are disbursing loans. 

Fake legal notice

Inquiries revealed that the lenders harass the loan defaulters in different ways right from day one. They gain access to the victim's contact list on mobile phone, when they apply for loan. The day, loan is defaulted, they message victim's contacts, branding the client as fraud.

Next, they start calling the 'frequently called numbers' and begin harassing them.  The lenders also send fake legal notices to those on the contact list, saying legal action would be initiated against them.

They also tell the people on contact list that they have been listed as guarantors for the loan and demand repayment on behalf of the defaulters. "Unlike the private finance companies and microfinance businesses, who harass the defaulters physically, online lenders harass the defaulters emotionally and socially," a police official noted.



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