The Chinese national and 20 other people, arrested for extorting money from people after offering instant loans, were funneling money to their handlers in China through shell companies, investigations have found.
Chandigarh Police Superintendent (SP Cyber Crime Investigation Unit) Ketan Bansal said: “It has been discovered that the money which the victims were to deposit was channeled to China through front companies. We get more details about these shell companies and their managers.
Chandigarh Police cyber cell had arrested 21 members of this gang during a 10-day operation spanning five states including NCR Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The ringleader of the gang, Wan Chengua, 34, a Chinese national, was arrested in NCR Delhi on September 11. He is currently in custody for four days.
The investigation also revealed that the accused had communicated with managers in the neighboring country via DingTalk, one of the largest mobile applications for professional communication and management in China.
“All instructions and communications from Chinese managers went through the DingTalk app,” Bansal said.
RBI had canceled the registration of the company where the kingpin worked
The accused, Chengua, a Class 12 passed out, had arrived in India on a work visa in 2019 and was living illegally after his visa expired in 2020. He worked with PC Financial Services Pvt Ltd, operating from Delhi. The company was primarily engaged in mobile app-based lending operations through an app called “Cashbean”.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in February this year, canceled the certificate of registration issued to the firm after finding that several standards, including outsourcing and Know Your Customer (KYC), were flouted.
Once PC Financial Services refrained from trading, Chengua and the accused Parwej Alam aka Jitu Bhadana aka Sonu Bhadana, 32, started to trick people. Chengua had entrusted Parwej with the responsibility of hiring staff.
Parwej hired six to seven team leaders who had a large number of young people working under them. These young people sent the links that were used to trap the victims.
Targeted middle-class families, loans offered without paperwork
“The defendants were working in a work-from-home setup and therefore managed to get away easily. They mainly targeted middle-class families who were looking for short-term loans. They offered loans without any paperwork,” Bansal said.
The police recovered around ₹62 lakh of the accused.
“The money we recovered is mainly the amount that was to be paid to the youths hired by the defendant,” Bansal said. Agents were paid approximately ₹11,000 while team leaders and managers were paid between ₹15,000 and ₹35,000.
100 complaints in Chandigarh alone, police demand removal of apps
Police said the accused handled the domains for all online loan applications — Hugo Loan, Cashfree, Fly Cash, Cash coin, AA Loan.
“A hundred complaints have been filed in Chandigarh alone. Residents here have lost approximately ₹65 lakh to these scammers. We have written to Google Play Store to remove these apps,” the SP said.