Harassed by online loan applications, defaulter kills Telangana

Undeterred by the police investigation into app-based loan finance companies, loan collection calls to clients ultimately force them to end their lives.

On Saturday, G. Chandra Mohan, 36, supervisor of a private warehouse, committed suicide at his residence in the village of Gundla Pochamma in Pet-Basheerabad in the district of Medchal-Malkajgiri, about 30 km from Hyderabad. This is the fifth “forced suicide” of these companies existing only in the form of mobile applications.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar said the victim took out a loan from one of these companies a few weeks ago and to repay the amount before the one week deadline he took out loans. loans from another unauthorized app available on Google Playstore.

“He took about 70,000 out of at least nine of these apps and didn’t pay back. As a result, the lenders labeled him a defaulter and started calling him by phone and threatening him repeatedly, ”he said.

The companies also called and texted his relatives and friends to defame him, forcing Chandra Mohan to take the plunge.

Telangana police have identified at least 180 “unauthorized” instant loan applications and at least 30 people, including four Chinese nationals. The thirty people were arrested in the police stations of Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Rachakonda and Warangal. Two sons of a Kurnool police officer are said to be the linchpins for launching some of these apps at the behest of Chinese entrepreneurs.

“We have written to Google to remove apps whose operations are illegal,” Sajjanar said.

Hyderabad’s Additional Police Commissioner (Crimes and SIT) Shikha Goel said that to date they have identified four companies that run at least 30 apps with a whopping volume of 21,000 crore (4.57 billion dollars) in more than 1.40 crore of transactions. “This is the number we gave by the RazorPay payment gateway, and it is still under investigation,” she said.

With bases in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Gurugram, the business has flourished thanks to the COVID pandemic which has driven thousands of people into shortage. “The creation of these companies almost coincided with the pandemic and we froze around 80 crore on 10 bank accounts,” Ms. Goel said.

The financial tightness of the system which has resulted in lowering credit card limits, loss of jobs or reduction in net wages has forced reckless people to turn to these interest rate app-based companies. very high.

The suicides reported in Telangana appear to be due in large part to the humiliating and coercive methods used by these companies in call centers for loan collection, which were simply unbearable for people who did not repay the loans. The use of harsh language gave no chance of renewing loans or extending the repayment period, a standard in all banking and financial transactions, investigators said.

According to Sajjanar, the companies took an interest of at least 35% and the amount kept increasing until the lenders repaid the amount.

“We are collectively investigating the cases and asking people not to take extreme measures and instead approach the police and file a complaint of harassment and public disgrace,” the commissioner said.

(The Roshni Suicide Intervention Center based in Hyderabad can be reached on +914066202000 or 6666 1117)