Delhi Police’s Intelligence and Strategic Operations Fusion Unit (IFSO) arrested eight people for allegedly staging an extortion racket through a bogus loan application where they threatened the victims by sending their transformed images.
The defendants were arrested in Delhi, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Gurugram, Haryana and other parts of the country.
DCP (IFSO) KPS Malhotra said he received a complaint from a woman who alleged that an anonymous person harassed and threatened her with altered photographs, which the accused then sent to her relatives and family members.
She claimed that although she repaid the loan she took through the loan application, she was threatened and abused by company employees via WhatsApp. The accused used a Chinese loan application called Cash Advance and used to extort money from people claiming that they had not repaid the amount.
The complainant alleged that the defendant used a picture of a senior police officer on his WhatsApp while threatening the complainant. After receiving the complaint, a police team raided Pitampura and Rohini where they managed to arrest five people, including one of the accused’s wives. The defendants have been identified as Rohit Kumar, Vividh Kumar, Puneet and Manish. Puneet’s wife, Divya, was also arrested, police said.
In another raid in Gurugram, police arrested Sumit, who used to make threatening calls to victims. Upon revelation, another accused, Kartik Panchal, was arrested. Panchal led a team of callers who called victims, police said.
On March 14, another defendant and mastermind of the group, Ravi Shakar, was arrested in Jodhpur. “The defrauded amount was sent to China by one of the defendants. Police have identified the crypto accounts of three Chinese nationals involved in the case,” the DCP said.
Explaining the gang’s modus operandi, police said: “…the gang’s second team handled the financial transactions. After receiving the extortion amount in the bank, the defendants used to transfer the money to their masters in China, Hong Kong, Dubai, etc. after converting it to cryptocurrency. All members received their share according to their role and performance.”
The police added that the accused used to work in two shifts, one of them tracking down loan applicants and the other calling them and asking them to pay back money and extort them.
The DCP said the loan application was malicious and the complainant’s personal data was passed on to a third party. A total of ₹8.45 crore was transferred to one of the defendant’s numbers in the last 15 days and it was later transferred to other defendants.