RAWALPINDI: A judicial magistrate of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday remanded custody of nine suspects to the FIA for four days in an online loan scam case.
Judicial Magistrate Mujtabaul Hassan handed over custody of the suspects as the investigation agency was seeking 14-day physical remand. The FIA started probe against the online loan app after a man committed suicide for being blackmailed by the recovery staff of the loan service.
As per initial investigation, the FIA identified 19 suspects and arrested nine from the office of the online loan service on Saidpur Road in Rawalpindi.
The under-custody suspects comprised two call centre representatives, three team leads, two quality team leads and two operational managers.
They were working in Humraah Financial Services Ltd and Sarmaya Microfinance (Pvt) Ltd.
The widow of the deceased informed the investigators that her husband took a loan from the online loan app, and the payment was increased drastically after he failed to make payment within the given deadline. Masood took another loan to repay the first payment and the amount soared to Rs700,000.
He then committed suicide and narrated his ordeal in the audio clip, which surfaced online, prompting action from the authorities.
Police have already lodged an FIR against people running the online app.
The Cyber Crime Wing of the FIA disclosed that the loan company assigned targets for suspects of making threatening calls to the loan defaulters and they were working in various sections.
The recovery staff also called close relatives, friends and neighbours of the defaulters to force them to repay the borrowed amount along with the huge mark up. Each of the detained suspects was making 100 to 150 calls every day. The FIA is conducting more raids to arrest the other accused persons.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2023