Bhubaneswar: The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Odisha Crime Branch has arrested a fraudster from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi in connection with a case registered on April 21 this year.
The accused identified as Ram Shriram Pathade of Mumbai, is the Managing Director of Mahagram Payments Pvt Ltd. He was arrested under Sections 294, 506, 507, 420, 467, 468 and 120-B of IPC and 66 D of IT Act, 2000 yesterday and produced before Patiala House Court in New Delhi.
Later, he was brought to Bhubaneswar on the strength of transit remand, to be produced before SDJM Court here.
The accused in connivance with Mohammed Javed Sahifi, director of IWT-India and Tarun Kumar Dudeja, the proprietor of many dubious companies, was indulged in the operation of few illegal mobile apps like KOKO and JOJO loan.
EOW said the fake loan apps, once downloaded in one’s mobile, money ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 is credited in the customer’s bank account. Once the amount is credited, the customer is asked to repay the amount within a week with excessive rate of interest.
“On denial to pay the high rate of interest, the concerned customer is humiliated/ bullied in many ways. Obscene messages and indecent pictures along with abusive texts in filthy languages are sent to his/her WhatsApp number as well as to his/her contacts, as a coercive measure to recover the loan amount with interest. Some customers died by suicide due to the humiliation,” said a statement issued by the EOW.
There are more than 1.5 lakh downloads of KOKO and JOJO loan, so far. The EOW has received over 100 complaints from Odisha related to illegal/abusive activities of the digital loan apps. The accused persons were using multiple layers of shell companies, digital accounts and payment gateways to facilitate their illegal business, the EOW added.
“It has been ascertained that there are about 1058 virtual accounts created by Mahagram Payments Pvt Ltd through which the repayment amounts of the borrowers are channelized through payment gateway, All the accounts have been blocked,” EOW added.
Earlier, the two other accused Md. Javed Saifi and Tarun Kumar Dudeja, were arrested in this connection and an amount of around Rs 6.57 crore lying in accounts of Mahagram Payment Pvt Ltd has been frozen.
Further investigation in this connection is underway.