According to police sources, it is not easy to pull down those applications from the Play Store as uninstalling them from our phone. “Most of these applications have registered as proper business firms with Registrar of Companies (ROC) and have obtained GST. And their declaration about their companies is that they are non-bank finance companies into lending money to those in need of money. So, they are technically legal. The only area where they are culpable is the charging of exorbitant interests. But they call it other charges and processing fee,” said a police officer.
Even in the case registered by the Central Crime Branch in which two Chinese nationals among others were arrested, police have difficulty in establishing as to how many applications the gang controlled, as the accused claim to be owning just one application called MCash.
“They claim that they do not have control over other applications even though the complainant has listed 47 applications from which he bought loans. So, we are analysing their laptops for more evidence and since all the conversations are in Chinese, a translator has been roped in to decipher their communications. Considering the Chinese links and the number of cases reported from across the country, the case might get transferred to the CBI,” added the official, who is part of the investigation.
The official also said that more arrests will be made in the case as they have received crucial information on the whereabouts of a few more suspects in the case.
Cyberlaw expert N Vijayashankar, speaking to DT Next, said victims should be partly blamed for the ordeal they face for blindly allowing the apps to have access to our personal information for want of money without reading the conditions and it should serve as a caution to others.
“Charging exorbitant is not new to the community and now it has taken the new form. Similarly, loan retrieval through harassment is also not new as even established banks used to do it until it was regulated a few years ago. While the transparency factor should be addressed by the Reserve Bank of India, these harassments can be treated as a conventional crime since the Supreme Court has struck down Section 66A of the IT Act, which effectively addressed these issues with up to three years of imprisonment,” he added.