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EOW Bhubaneswar freezes Rs 6.57 cr in illegal digital lending case

May 04, 2022 10:24 AM

NEW DELHI: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Bhubaneswar said on Tuesday it has frozen four accounts of Mahagram Payments Pvt Ltd, having deposits of Rs 6.57 crore, in an illegal digital lending case.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Bhubaneswar said it had received a series of complaints from victims and the Reserve Bank of India relating to illegal functioning of loan apps which are not registered as NBFC under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act.

 

EOW took up investigation in respect of one such loan app "KOKO". This also has a sister/ related version called "JOJO". More than 1.5 lakh people have downloaded this app including many from Odisha.

During the investigation, it is ascertained that these fake loan apps once downloaded in one's mobile Playstore, small amounts ranging from 3000-5000 is credited through link or through UPI to the customers' Bank account. Once the amount is credited to the customer's Bank account, within a week the customer is asked to repay the amount along with an excessive rate of interest, the Economic Offences Wing said in a statement.

On denial to pay the high rate of interest, the concerned customer is humiliated in many ways. Obscene messages and indecent pictures along with abusive texts are sent to their WhatsApp number and as well as to their contact lists.

During further investigation, it was ascertained that the victims who had downloaded KOKO loan App from the Playstore were credited small amounts from one company named Mahagram Payments Private Ltd which is not registered with RBI as an NBFC.

The accused company through its recovery agents placed WhatsApp and live calls to the victims humiliating/ abusing them with foul language to return the money with upto 5 times rate of interest within a week.

The accused company credited the said amount but collected the refunded amount from the victims through one of its customer firms namely IWT India, Gurugram. All the said transactions were made using many layers to avoid/confuse the police/ law enforcement agencies. In this regard, as the first step to prevent further extortion and illegal money lending by the said accused company and its customer IWT India, EOW has frozen an amount of Rs 6.57 crore in different account of accused company, the EOW said.

"As this company/ App has used many complicated and technical layers/ routes in order to evade detection and confuse police, we are taking help of technical experts/ bank officials/ chartered accountant etc. Three special teams of EOW are working on this case in different states like Maharashtra, Bihar, UP and New Delhi. We are also in touch with Telangana/ Hyderabad police," the agency said.

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