“The Pune Cyber Police Station has received complaints of abuse and harassment by loan apps,” Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said.
According to the police, call center employees were offering small instant loans (Rs 500 to Rs 7,000) on mobile app stores.
“These apps seek to access camera, photos, contacts and storage on mobile phones. The apps charge huge interest, process fees and resort to harassment and threaten defaulters,” Gupta said.
The constant harassment and threats led to several suicides and murders across the country and one such suicide incident was reported in Pune, he said.
“While investigating a case, we formed a team under Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Bhagyashri Navtake and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Vijay Palsule to track down these online fraudsters and tracked down seven people, into whose accounts the defaulters were forced to deposit money,” the official said.
The seven defendants were arrested from different places such as Solapur, Pune, Bengaluru and Kerala, he said.
“The investigation revealed that bank accounts were opened in the names of workers and defaulters were instructed to deposit the money there. Similarly, SIM cards were purchased in the names of workers and calls came from of these phone numbers to threaten defaulters,” Gupta said.
During investigations, police found a call center operating out of Bangalore, where raids were carried out recently and 11 people were apprehended, he said.
“We have seized the data of more than 1 lakh of the defendant’s customers at the call centre,” the official said, adding that Rs 70 lakh were seized from the accounts in which the defaulters deposited money .
(Inputs from PTI)