03 Jan 2021: Loan app case: Chennai Police arrests 2 Chinese nationals
Four people, including two Chinese nationals, have been arrested by the Chennai Police in connection with the loan apps case.
The case pertains to at least two dozen illegal apps that have been used to disburse loans worth Rs. 300 crore at interest rates as high as 36%.
The case came to light after a string of suicides due to harassment by recovery agents.
Arrest: Xia Ya Mau (38), Yuvan Lun (28) among those arrested
According to The Times of India, the police arrested four persons: two Chinese nationals named Xia Ya Mau (38) and Yuvan Lun (28), along with S Pramoda of Doopanahalli and CR Pavan of Chikkanahally.
Two others, identified as Hong and Wandish, reportedly managed to escape to Singapore.
A Central Crime Branch team had probed the racket for 20 days to nab the suspects.
Fact: Arrested Karnataka duo was paid Rs. 20,000 monthly
A senior CCB official told TOI, "Though the Karnataka duo was cited as 'directors' of many of these lending companies, they were paid Rs. 20,000 monthly, while the Chinese took full possession of cheque leaves, ATM debit cards, and the company's internet banking access credentials."
Details: 2 bank accounts with over Rs. 2 crore frozen
Reportedly, the police have frozen two bank accounts with Rs. 48 lakh and Rs. 1.96 crore balance in ICICI Bank and RBL Bank branches in Bengaluru
Over two dozen apps were used to disburse loans ranging from Rs. 5,000-50,000 to more than one lakh people across India.
The police have requested Google Play Store to suspend 25 such mobile applications.
Suicides: Fifth death reported in Telangana yesterday
Over five deaths in Telangana and one in Bengaluru have been reported in connection with the case.
The latest suicide involves 36-year-old G Chandra Mohan, who was found dead in his Gundlapochampally home on Saturday. He had taken multiple loans, reportedly totaling Rs. 60,000-70,000, from money-lending apps and had defaulted.
Recovery agents would reportedly harass and shame defaulters by approaching their contact lists.
Investigation: Police to engage translator to interrogate Chinese suspects
An officer told TOI that they will engage a translator to interrogate the suspects and obtain more information after taking them in custody. The police will also scrutinize laptops and mobiles seized from them.
Meanwhile, Pramoda and Pavan told authorities that they had found an online advertisement by the Chinese requiring them to set up a call center in Bengaluru.
Quote: 'Chinese nationals handled money'
An official told TOI, "Their role was to register a company and recruit tele-callers, while the money part was taken care of by the Chinese."
"Their job was to make abusive phone calls to defaulting customers, access the contact list of the defaulters, and shame them by sending messages to all their contacts," they said, adding that micro-lending apps became popular during the lockdown.
Fact: 'Chinese nationals were staying in India even after visa expiration'
Chennai city commissioner of police Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal said, "We are looking into the flow of money to the company—True Kindle Technologies Solutions Private Limited—floated by the Chinese. The two arrested Chinese nationals have been staying even after the expiry of their visa period."