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Andhra Pradesh cops to book Google, Apple in loan app cases

To control the menace of online loan apps, AP police have decided to book app hosting platforms like Google, Apple and others, internet service providers, app developers, and bankers along with the organisers of loan apps.

DGP K V Rajendranath Reddy said on Friday that police have devised a standard operating procedure to deal with online loan app harassment cases.

“Henceforth, we will make various service providers co-accused in such cases. They all would be served notice under relevant sections of CrPC to share information about fraudulent apps with the police,” he said. The DGP added, If they do not comply with the same, they will automatically become co-accused in the crime.”

Similarly, bankers are giving accounts to persons and firms without doing proper verification, he said. “We have sent notices to several bankers to share information about suspicious account holders. In one case, a person from Rajasthan opened a bank account in Nandyal. In another case, accounts of defunct companies were used to route the money.

He further explained that in most of the cases, those running loan apps are found to be sitting in foreign countries like China but are getting apps developed in India through local developers.

“While developing the app, the developer should know how it will be used. If it is used for committing a crime, he is also liable for punishment for designing such apps,” the DGP added.

Similarly, bankers are giving accounts to persons and firms without doing proper verification, he said. “We have sent notices to several bankers to share information about suspicious account holders. In one case, a person from Rajasthan opened a bank account in Nandyal.

“In another case, accounts of defunct companies were used to route the money. Bankers should be vigilant about these fraudulent account holders and should share information with the police.

“The app hosting platforms should also verify for what purpose a particular app is being used. If any app is being used to commit crimes, the host of the app will also become an accused. We have sent notices to Google, Apple and other app hosting platforms flagging about 175 loan apps,” the DGP explained.

He said they have prepared an investigation manual to deal with loan app harassment cases and it will be shared with all unit officers. He appealed to people not to download any loan app and not to give access to their personal information according to the reports published in timesofindia.indiatimes.com.

The modus operandi of loan apps is to steal all contact numbers and photos, and then extort money from the users by morphing those photos and threatening to send them to their contacts.

Urging those being harassed by loan app agents to approach the police without any fear and not take extreme decisions, the DGP said police are taking stringent action against loan app organisers and have arrested 71 persons in 75 cases so far. He further informed that six suicides have been reported in Andhra Pradesh so far because of loan app harassment. Andhra Samachar

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