Bhopal police on Friday claimed to have busted a fake call centre racket with the arrest of a 21-year-old and said the prime suspect developed 12 websites and allegedly duped close to 10,000 people from across the country to the tune of Rs 10 crore by offering them loans on low interest rates.
The police identified the main accused as David Kumar Jatav, a B.Com graduate who did an online website designing course.
According to the police, Jatav operated the fraud through two call centres running out of Noida, UP. Managing these call centre and hiring of employees – each had about 25 women staff, paid between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 per month – were handled by Jatav’s close aides, sisters Neha (23) and Manisha Bhatt, 27. Both were arrested along with Jatav.
Confirming the arrests and the modus operandi, Inspector General of Police, Bhopal Range, Upendra Jain said, “We have set up a helpline number — 8602744849 — and would request people to call if they have been cheated similarly.”
After launching the websites, the police said, Jatav roped in Kamal Kashyap to get fake SIM cards and fake bank accounts made. Jatav, they said, launched his first website – ‘Sunlight’ – in August 2018, followed by several others. After launching these sites, Jatav would place ads on Google, ensuring that people looking for loans at low interest would come across his website in the first four results that popped up on the search engine, the police said.
Initially named Moon Light, Life Line, Just Click, they were given more “convincing” names with time – such as Discovery Finanence [that’s how the sites were spelt, according to the police], Swift Finanence, Star Finanence, Sky Finanence and then to Growel Finanence. The most recent – Greatway Finanence – was active until his arrest.
A click on the website would prompt for details of the person, including mobile phone number, who would then get calls from the call centres. Once a loan-seeker was convinced, the police said, she/he was asked to pay small amounts, ostensibly as activation charge and processing fee, among others. A ‘loan sanction letter’ was then sent, before more payment was sought under miscellaneous charges and taxes.
“The idea was to ensure that a person pays between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 for a loan of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 20 lakh before they would change their SIM card and become unreachable,” a senior officer said. Typically, one website and SIM card was active for a month or two, the officer added.
According to police, Kamal Kashyap, who provided fake bank accounts and SIM cards from time to time, charged Rs 50,000 per bank account created. He is still at large.
The issue came to light after Bhopal police received a complaint from one Padmesh Singh, who fell victim to one such website – http://www.swiftfianance.in – in December 2019. During investigation, the police found a link to a call centre in Noida, for which Jatav paid a monthly rent of Rs 1.5 lakh.