Two Chinese men and two Indians have been arrested by the Chennai police for allegedly operating instant loan applications, PTI reported on Saturday.
The two Indians, identified as Pramod and Pavan, ran a call centre in Bengaluru, according to India Today. They employed more than 100 people to advance loans through nine applications. The police said that the accused targeted people suffering due to a cash crunch. They would lend people money at a high rate of interest and then threaten them to pay it back.
Pramoda and Pavan confessed to the police that they worked with two Chinese men named Xiao Yamao and Wu Yuanlun. The Chinese men told the police that another person named Hong was the mastermind behind the operation.
Chennai Commissioner of Police Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal told PTI that all four of them were arrested in Bengaluru on Thursday and Friday. They were later taken to Chennai and sent to judicial custody.
The arrests were made after a complaint was filed by a man named Ganesan. The complainant told the police that he had borrowed Rs 5,000 through an instant loan app called “M Rupee” as he was under financial strain due to the coronavirus crisis, according to India Today.
Ganesan added that Rs 3,500 was credited to his account, while Rs 1,500 was charged as interest. He said that at one point, he was forced to pay a 2% interest on Rs 100. Ganesan also said that he began receiving threatening calls for repayment at a high rate of interest.
On Wednesday, the Hyderabad Police had arrested a Chinese national and one more person in connection with a multi-crore instant microloan lending scam conducted via 30 mobile phone apps. The scam had pushed citizens in Telangana to take their lives.
A total of 16 persons have been arrested in that case by the Hyderabad police so far, while the Cyberabad police have arrested at least six people. The crackdown was launched after three people died by suicide, after reportedly being harassed and humiliated by the money lenders for days.