The Delhi-based fashion designer and his associate funneled money extorted from loan app victims to masterminds in China, according to GRP
On Friday, Andheri GRP officers said they arrested a Delhi-based fashion designer and his associate who worked for the loan application fraud‘s masterminds in China as well as the gang that operates the unauthorized apps. The duo transferred the money, which debt collectors extorted from innocent borrowers, the masterminds of China, they added. Midday, through a series of stories, was instrumental in spreading the massive scam that spread across the country.
Loan app scammers trick gullible people into getting instant, one-tap loans on their mobile phone without any verification. They promise low interest rates and a certain repayment period, but as soon as the money is credited to the borrowers’ bank account, their debt collectors start stalking innocent people. The victims, who are threatened and blackmailed with obscenely made-up photos, are forced to pay far more than they borrowed.
Also Read: Mumbai: Five Loan Application Officers Released on Bail A Month Later
Police said the fashion designer worked in China before the pandemic forced him to return to India. Representation photo
Midday had earlier reported, citing Economic Offenses Wing, that the extorted money was going to China. Mohammad Sartaj Aalam Yasin, 45, the fashion designer and his associate Shoeb Iqbal Aalam, 25, who were arrested in Delhi by Andheri Government Railways (GRP) police were sending the proceeds to their brains in the neighboring country.
GRP officers, who brought the duo to Mumbai on Thursday, said they used the messaging app Telegram to contact their counterparts in China and Nepal. The cats are now part of the evidence, along with documents, bank seals, laptops and routers seized in a raid on their home in Delhi.
A Mumbai court took the duo into custody.
They were arrested after police began investigating a complaint from a Kalyan resident, who received threatening calls and messages when she could not repay the loan. She approached Andheri Police GRP when recovery officers started sending threatening messages to her contacts.
Under the leadership of Deputy Police Commissioner Dr. Sandeep Bhajibhakre, a team was formed which included Deputy Inspector Sachin Gavte, Deputy Inspector Sachin Kamble and others. They started the investigation and got the names of Sartaj and Shoeb.
A police source said: “Sartaj is the main defendant in the case involving the money transfer. The duo had opened several bank accounts under false names and used them to funnel money to China. Police sealed all accounts. Sartaj has visited China several times, and can also speak a Chinese language. He had also met with the main gang operating loan apps in India. Sartaj was also operating many bank accounts using victims’ OTP to withdraw money. He received a commission of Rs 3,000 per day for deceiving people.”
Police are currently investigating to see if they have been involved in any other loan application scam cases recorded in the city. In a few cases, recorded by Mira Road and the Mumbai Police, borrowers committed suicide after being constantly harassed by loan collectors.
Police said Sartaj lived in China before the COVID-19 lockdown and around 1 lakh employees worked under him. He transported clothes from China to India. His business took a hit during the lockdown and he moved to Mohan Baug in Delhi. Since he had no way to earn a living, he began looting people of their hard-earned money in 2020, police said.
Commission per day that an accused received
Year since the main defendant ran the scam