Faridabad police have arrested seven people from Delhi-NCR and Bihar over the past three days for allegedly taking out loans to buy commodities on EMIs by sending customer-submitted documents to SIM card dealers and Photostat shops, officials involved in the investigation said.
Police said they were preparing a list of photostat shops and SIM card dealers allegedly involved in providing the gang members with the documents.
The scam was reported to police on October 11 after a Faridabad resident was denied a loan from a financial firm citing poor credit as he did not pay EMIs on an iPhone he bought in March 2022. installments of €49,000 are still outstanding, the police said.
Investigators said Hemant Kumar, 35, a resident of Sector 58 in Ballabhgarh, told police he never bought a phone or applied for a loan.
Basant Kumar, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Faridabad Cybercrime Police Station, said they registered a case of fraud and fraud against unidentified suspects and started conducting a technical surveillance based on the documents and numbers used in the cell phone business were submitted. “We interviewed electronics store executives and scanned the Aadhaar card and PAN card submitted to purchase the phone. We took out the records of the call details and tracked down gang members and arrested them in Bihar, Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida,” he said.
Investigation into the case revealed the gang was involved in at least 300 similar scams, Kumar said. He added that some of the gang members worked in joint service centers of financial companies and as financial managers in home appliance showrooms. They took copies of original documents submitted by people when purchasing SIM cards, as well as documents brought to Photostat stores to have copies made, and used them to purchase equipment from EMIs and apply for loans.
Kumar said the investigation found that the gang members used the stolen documents to buy expensive mobile phones, refrigerators, washing machines, LED TVs, laptops, home theaters, air conditioners, scooters and motorcycles. They later sold the items on the gray market to make a profit.
The suspects have been identified as Vineet Kumar aka Nitin, Sahil Singh, Tikam, Deepak, Abid, Mukesh and Harmel Singh aka Vicky Sardar.
Faridabad Police spokesman Sube Singh said Vineet Kumar is a resident of Bihar while Mukesh, Abid, Tikam and Harmel are residents of Ghaziabad; Deepak and Sahil are from Delhi.
“The suspects have revealed that they created fake documents in order to defraud banks and financial companies by using these documents to obtain financing for mobile phones and other electronic items without the customers’ knowledge. The defendants were arrested from Delhi, Ghaziabad and Bihar,” he said.
Singh said that Vineet was the mastermind and had collected Aadhaar and PAN map data to share with Mukesh and Harmel Singh. Tikam Singh prepared the funding file and sent people with the fake IDs to various shops – including one in Preet Vihar in Delhi, where Sahil and Deepak used to work.
The police have confiscated €15,000 cash, a computer, printer, three mobile phones and 14 SIM cards owned by the suspects. All suspects have been remanded in custody, Kumar said.
The police said they were investigating and expected more complaints of a similar nature from other areas. The teams map the areas and compile data on the products sold by the suspects, based on which the shops, showrooms and agencies are informed.