The Charkop Police Department has now registered an FIR on the matter and is investigating the case.
37-year-old writer Abhishek Makwana, once linked to popular TV show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his Kandivali apartment on November 27th last year.
The brother of the deceased,
After Makwana’s death, his family claimed that he had died of suicide as a result of the constant harassment and extortion by the recovery agents of these mobile loan applications, and that they stole information from his phones and were now using that information to threaten his relatives and friends.
In his FIR, Jenis said that he received a call from someone on his brother’s phone after Makwana’s death. The caller asked for Makwana, he said. Jenis told the caller that his brother had died, but the caller got abusive and said that he called in connection with the loan Makwana took from them and did not repay. Jenis then asked the caller for the credit details and the office address. The caller refused to provide details and continued to abuse him. He also threatened to kill him and his family if they fail to repay the loan.
Jenis was startled and ended the conversation. He later received a spate of calls from several unknown numbers. The callers introduced themselves as intermediaries for various simple loan applications demanding the repayment of loans that their brother allegedly had taken from them. Jenis, who said he was unaware of his brother’s financial transactions, asked them to give him some time to understand the problem, but the callers refused to listen, the FIR said.
Soon other family members, their relatives, and Makwana’s friends began receiving abusive and threatening calls. This lasted until the first week of January.
On January 2, Jenis checked Makwanas emails for clues about his financial transactions. He found that Makwana had received around 40-45 small loans from various app-based applications in a single day – loans he had never asked for.
According to Jenis, he learned that his brother had taken out loans, but only on a small scale, and that he had repaid them. However, several loan amounts were transferred to his bank account, even though he had not applied for it.
“I learned that Abhishek. on the first loan [Makwana] downloaded an application and applied for the loan, providing a lot of personal information. They stole this information and later misused it by transferring money to my brother’s account without him asking for it. The email also indicates that Abhishek had paid back the money that was transferred to his account, but he was still being harassed, ”Jenis said.
The credit collection agents had constantly threatened and blackmailed him to pay, or they would shame him by contacting his family, relatives and friends. “That forced Abhishek to take his own life,” said Jenis.
Jenis urged the public not to borrow money from these applications in a video released on Jan. 16. “I want to make sure that no one loses their brother, no body loses their sister, father, mother and friends through this inhumane business of lending money and then harassing them.”
The Charkop Police Department has registered an FIR on the matter and is continuing to investigate the case. “We have registered an FIR under the relevant sections of the Indian Criminal Code for Fraud, Criminal Intimidation and Willful Offense along with the sections of the Information Technology Act. We are trying to find out if these loan applicants meet the legal requirements to operate moneylending businesses, ”said a police officer investigating the case.
The deadly trap
Cyber security expert Ritesh Bhatia says people are falling prey to this
Nowhere in the app guidelines is it mentioned that if the victim doesn’t pay on time, their friends or families will be contacted, Bhatia said.
In addition, it is not necessary to access a person’s personal information over the phone to process a loan.
The RBI had recently warned against such loans and asked the damaged borrowers to file complaints on its portal.
“There have been reports of individuals / small businesses falling victim to a growing number of unauthorized digital lending platforms / mobile apps to get loans quickly and easily. These reports also cover inflated interest rates and additional hidden fees charged by borrowers, the use of unacceptable and unauthorized recovery methods, and the abuse of agreements to access data on borrowers’ cell phones, “RBI said in a statement.
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