Telangana police said Sunday they blew up a Pune call center allegedly used to harass borrowers from online recovery app companies and arrested three people, including a Chinese woman.
The trio were arrested following a complaint from a local resident that they were harassed by the online loan app companies for repaying them with higher interest rates, police said.
The operation follows the arrest of four people, including a Chinese national, here on Friday for allegedly using coercive methods to collect payments from debtors who used 11 instant loan apps they developed and took out loans.
The crackdown on instant loan app providers began after three cases of suicides, including that of a software engineer, were reported in Telangana last month due to harassment by such companies.
The latest arrest was the director of the Pune call center, his Chinese wife, who assists him in running the company’s affairs, and a human resources manager, Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh M Bhagwat said.
There are currently around 650 employees working in the call center who are instructed to call the borrowers, their relatives and friends with their personal mobile phone number and insist on repayment including interest, the police said.
According to the police, the lending companies offered loans to private individuals via instant loan apps and charged, among other things, high interest rates and processing fees and resorted to systematic mistreatment, harassment and threats of the defaulting people via the call center.
They even blackmail borrowers by sending fake legal advice to their relatives and family members.
On the basis of several complaints, cases have been registered at various police stations in the state that these companies have allegedly obtained sensitive data such as contacts, photos from customers’ cell phones and used them to defame or extort loan repayment.