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Telangana Congress demands ban on online loan apps, writes to KCR

Hyderabad: AICC spokesperson Dr Dasoju Sravan on Wednesday demanded Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao to immediately abolish online loan apps which have been committing ‘brutal atrocities, unbearable harassment, and resorting to illegal practices, even leading to the suicides and deaths of many innocent people.’

Dr Sravan wrote an open letter to CM KCR on Wednesday urging him to set up a Special Task Force within the Police Department to crack down on all the online loan apps and ensure that they are completely shut down.

“You are well aware that a dreaded and elongated COVID pandemic has played havoc with people’s lives in all spheres and especially many have broken down financially. Besides, declining economic growth, layoffs, rising inflation, and lack of new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities have pushed people into severe financial stress. During these troubled times, the traditional banking system, which needs to support the common man, has completely failed.

As a result, many people have approached online loan apps for loans to attend to emergencies and difficult times, not knowing that they are getting into a murky web of harassment, fleecing, and cheating.

Though these online apps offer loans at higher interest rates and charge exorbitant amounts in the name of the processing fee, late fee, and other pretexts, people are forced to approach these loan apps as they are completely let down by traditional banks, which turns a blind eye to poor and middle-class borrowers,” he said in the letter.

The Congress spokesperson said that the inaction of the government and police on these illegal online loan apps, even after numerous disturbing events and complaints from victims, is emboldening the financial fraudsters.

He pointed out that this is just the surface of a gigantic problem. “If the police start investigating, a dark underbelly of financial frauds will be revealed. The research and inquiry done by us revealed the shocking fact that more than 90 percent of online loan apps neither have NBFC registration nor are backed by any bank or NBFC. After receiving calls for help from several victims, we made an observation that several locations in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Noida, Gurgram, Patna, Jamtara and other international locations such as Nepal, Middle East, Africa etc from where these illegal online loan apps operate,” said Dr Dasoju Sravan.

Sravan also urged the chief minister to set up a separate Cyber Crime Police Team with a toll-free number and exclusive email ID to address this issue, as the crimes and complaints relating to online loan apps are rising steeply and rearing ugly heads.

He called for creating an interstate investigative team, with police from other states as members, as many online apps operate across India, especially from places like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Noida, Bihar, Jharkhand, Nepal, and others.