With a rise in the cases of fraud and harassment committed by instant loan mobile apps in the state, a division bench of the Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, today directed the state's DGP Mahendar Reddy to look into the matter.
The court not only asked the DGP to take steps to nab those responsible for developing and running the fraudulent apps, but to also ban or delete any such apps by approaching the concerned authorities and service providers.
The Court also directed the DGP and the police commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda to file status reports on pending loan app cases in their jurisdictions by March 18, and issued notices to the state and the union governments on the matter.
The hearing was then adjourned.
Today's orders were passed by the bench while it dealing with a PIL filed by Kalyan Dileep Sunkara, himself an advocate of the High Court, seeking a ban on all the illegal instant loan apps available on Google Playstore and other online platforms.
In his petition, Sunkara highlighted the fact that the loan apps would first lure people into taking loans, and then charge sky-high interest rates.
"The mobile loan apps give loans with exorbitant interest rates - ranging from 150 to 450%, which need to be paid back in the duration of either a week or a fortnight. These apps first lure innocent people to take loans, and then harass them endlessly for money. It is important to address this issue," the petitioner explained.
He added that they would also use several tactics to blackmail and shame the borrowers into returning the money, which, he claimed, had pushed many borrowers into committing suicide.
Sunkara also pointed out that the actions of the lenders violated many norms of the Information Technology Act (2000), as well as the norms of end-to-end encryption of data.
The menace caused by these apps is fast emerging as a problem across various states of the country. Just last month, the Cyberabad Cyber Crime police arrested four employees of Cubevo Technology Private Limited
for running a number of illegal instant loan apps.