Chinese national, aide arrested for extorting money from people across India via mobile app

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New DelhiThe Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested two people, including a Chinese national, for extorting money from people through instant loan applications, a an official said Wednesday.

The defendants were identified as Chinese national Yu Zhang, the mastermind behind the extortion racket and Vineet Jhaver, a resident of Haryana.

Police said that so far more than Rs 150 crore had been embezzled through accounts provided by Vineet and Zhang.

IFSO unit broke various instant loan modules

In August this year, the IFSO unit dismantled various instant loan application modules having a Chinese connection and arrested 22 people for allegedly siphoning off Rs 500 crore to China through hawala or investing in cryptocurrency.

Police said several complaints were received on the NCRP portal that instant loan applications were disbursing loans at higher rates and even after the loan was repaid, they were extorting money using transformed nude photos .

“IFSO became aware of this and began analyzing the complaints to the NCRP. During the analysis of the complaints, it was found that over 100 such applications are involved in the loan and extortion racket,” said Prashant Gautam, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IF SO).

All apps sought to access user’s personal data

“It was also found that all the apps seek to access the user’s personal data. After gaining access to the user’s personal data such as contacts, chats, messages and pictures, the same were being uploaded to servers in India and overseas,” DCP said.

“The apps were developed as loaner apps. These apps were malicious in nature and solicited all permissions from the user,” DCP added.

“Apps were hosted on Google Play and websites. Users needing a loan would download the apps granting all permissions. Soon after, the app started downloading contact lists, chats , user images on servers hosted in China and other domains,” the DCP said.

This data was also sold to different private companies

“This data was also sold to different private companies. Customers were receiving calls from different numbers (obtained on fake IDs) forcing them to pay more and more by threatening them to use the transformed images. Due out of fear and stigma, users started paying their money to different bank accounts opened against fake IDs,” the official said.

The official further added that the collected money was diverted to specific bank accounts and then sent out of the country via Hawala or after purchasing cryptocurrencies. People who desperately needed a small loan ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 were forced to pay even in lakhs.

“There have been numerous incidents of citizens committing suicide in various parts of the country. The financial trail revealed that several mule accounts were used to obtain the amount. In each of the accounts, huge transactions were credited every day,” said said the DCP. .

The network is spread over Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat

“The network was found to extend to Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and other parts of the country. Previously, in similar cases, 22 people were arrested and , after further investigation, the mastermind in the present case, a Chinese national as well as an Indian accomplice have been arrested,” the DCP said.

“During questioning, it was revealed that they were operating at the request of other Chinese nationals. Analysis of the applications also revealed that some of the applications had been downloaded from China. The identities of other nationals Chinese in these cases is being established and efforts are being made to track them down and arrest them,” he said.

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