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Maharashtra Cyber Cell arrests five loan app agents from Karnataka for harassing Mumbai man


MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Cyber Cell on Monday claimed to have busted a gang of five loan app operators cum agents who used to extort money from victims by threatening to circulate their morphed pictures on social media if they failed to repay the alleged debt, a police official said, adding all the accused are well-educated.

The accused, identified as Suhail Naseeruddin Sayyed (24), Ahmed Raza Zahid Hussain (26), Sayyed Athar (24), Kaif Kadari (22) and Muftiyaz Basha Peerzade (21), were nabbed from Dharwad in Karnataka, an official said. All of them are highly qualified and one of them holds an MBA degree.

They were arrested after a man from suburban Mulund in Mumbai lodged an FIR alleging harassment by agents of a loan app after he took the loan of Rs 11,000. He ended up paying Rs 96,000 till May, as per the complaint.

During the investigation conducted by a special team, the cyber police tracked down the phone number used to threaten the victim to Dhule. They found that a person from Karnataka was using this phone number for Whatsapp messaging, the official said.

Police reached Dharwad and nabbed all the five persons, he said. The investigation revealed that the accused men used to extort money from their victims using 'Handy Loan' and other such applications, the official said, adding more persons are likely to be arrested.

In the last two years, the Cyber department received 2,084 complaints regarding such cases.A ll the accused were booked under sections 420 (Cheating), 383 (Extortion), 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other sections of the IT Act.

They were remanded to five-day police custody, the official added.

In May, a 38-year-old salesman from suburban Malad had committed suicide after his morphed nude photographs were circulated among his colleagues, friends and relatives by the recovery agents of an instant loan app for failing to repay an alleged loan on time.