THE CHANDIGARH Police’s cyber cell has arrested the man, who allegedly assisted a wanted Chinese national flee to Nepal from India.
The arrested man, identified as Bharat Kumar Lakhmani, 41, is a native of Karol Bagh in Delhi. The accused was remanded in three days police custody on Sunday. The police said the proceedings to issue red corner notice against the wanted Chinese national, better known as Stark, have started.
The instant loan app scam involving Chinese nationals was cracked by the police in September 2022. One of the Chinese nationals identified as Wan Chenghua, was arrested along with 33 Indian nationals.
The police said Lakhmani had worked in China from 2006 to 2011. After that period, he returned to India, and in 2016 started a business of mobile accessories in partnership with Chinese nationals in Delhi. He met the alleged mastermind Stark 2022 through his Chinese friend Yao. He rented out a flat in his name in Gurugram and accommodated Stark.
Lakhmani knew that Stark is a Chinese national and possesses a fake passport of Nepal. After that, they incorporated a shell company Alpha Genetech Pvt. Ltd, which is registered for digital marketing and online dating applications businesses. Lakhmani and his wife became directors of this shell firm.
Police added that Lakhmani, through his co-accused, who have been arrested earlier, started to convert cheated money from India (after web of transactions through accounts of shell companies) into USDT (a crypto currency) and send the same to Stark.
“In July 2022, when they got suspicious as the Indian police started to arrest Chinese people who are residing illegally in India and running instant loan app scam, he dropped Stark at Nepal border to run away from India. So, Stark now operates the online loan application scam from China and these people send him huge cheated amount through USDT by using different crypto wallets,” SP (Cyber) Ketan Bansal said.
The police have recovered cheated money worth Rs 17.31 lakh and frozen arrested individual’s another Rs 60 lakh held in 20 bank accounts. Later, it was found that 1,578 complaints and 89 FIRs were registered against the arrested persons across India.
What is instant loan application scam?
In the instant loan application scam, people install loan application in their phones to take loan of small amount. During the installation, the application seeks the access of the contacts, gallery of the targeted people. The scammers then morph the picture available in gallery of the victim and use them to extort money.
Due to this scam, around 60 persons have committed suicide across India, and people also hesitate to lodge a complaint as the scammers morphed the pictures of their family and threat to viral the same on social media. During the course of investigation of the instant loan app scam, a total 33 accused were arrested earlier. Huge money laundering to the tune of Rs 400 crore by a web of transactions through mule accounts of various shell companies, bogus political parties and trusts have been revealed.
Arrested persons include students, tax consultants/ advocates, directors of shell companies/ firms, hawala dealers, and property dealers including one foreign Chinese national.
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd
First published on: 08-05-2023 at 02:31 IST
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