Hyderabad police commissioner C V Anand
Responding to queries from TOI readers, Hyderabad police commissioner, C V Anand, says that his team is going all guns blazing to crackdown on the loan app scam, drug peddling and underage driving in the city.
I lost Rs 2 lakh in the last three months because of a loan app. They blackmailed me, shamed me in front of my friends/contacts, created fake pictures and harassed me from different IDs, despite me making the full payment. Please do something to ensure these loan apps do not torture people like me. — Dinesh Kumar
As many as 28 cases pertaining to loan app harassment were registered at cyber crime police station in 2020 and with the raiding and closing of call centres and arrest of criminals, the harassment was completely stopped. There were about 295 loan apps at that time. Raids were conducted in December 2020 and January 2021 in Hyderabad, New Delhi and Bengaluru and during the investigation, 23 criminals were arrested. It was clearly established that Chinese are the main organisers of these frauds -involved in threatening and harassing victims. Notices were sent to Google for deletion of these apps from Google Play store, and many were successfully removed. Again, in the last two months, these loan app managements have started calling and sending WhatsApp messages to victims and other new loan apps have surfaced. As many as 194 such apps have been identifi ed and a notice served to Google for their deletion. The bank accounts of concerned apps have been frozen, and we are working on this matter seriously. We have identifi ed some locations from where these fraudsters are operating and soon our teams will proceed there and make arrests. We wonder why even educated people get trapped by these apps. Please don’t fall prey to any such fraudulent activity.
We often hear about smalltime drug peddlers being arrested. But what happened to the high-profi le people involved in this menace? Have the police been able to take any action against them? —Komal Mahata
The Telangana government has declared an open war against narcotic drugs in the state of late and we are not stopping with arrests of small-time peddlers. The arrest of a Nigerian, Tony, from Mumbai was a sign of this and the big-time businessmen (consumers/ distributors) of Hyderabad were arrested and spent 15 days in jail. This sent shock waves through the entire drug consuming community. Again, University and B Tech students, 11 IT employees were arrested after a drug racket on the dark web was detected. The message is loud and clear to all other VIPs who are into this, that they will not escape if evidence comes up against them.
Why are severe punishments not being considered similar to the US and Singapore for those involved in the drug menace? For hat action example, college students involved in distributing or consuming drugs should be suspended for one year. No leaving certifi cates should be issued. Wouldn’t that act as a deterrent? —S Raghunathan
Till now, we used to be a little soft on consumers of narcotic drugs and adopted counselling as we didn’t want to spoil their future and careers. But this was not helping as the deterrence was not coming in and the consumers, including students did not take us seriously. Now that the law is being enforced strictly, fear and deterrence is spreading. I agree that in future we may have to rope in schools and college managements to rusticate and suspend students who indulge in this menace.
What action is proposed to be taken on those who are consuming liquor on the roads, (near the wine shops) and on pavements and in parks. These people have become a threat to society. —K Kasinath
We have increased the enforcement of the Hyderabad city police to bring about better discipline on the streets by booking plenty of petty cases against drunken persons (Section 70a), public nuisance (Section 70b), obstruction of public thoroughfares (66), open boozing (74) etc. This has brought a lot of improvement in the discipline on the roads, and we will continue this drive as it is important for the law and order of the city.
A lot of fraudsters are having a fi eld day by sending text messages to innocent citizens informing that their accounts have been suspended which needs KYC update, providing a link. Citizens thinking that the message is from the bank, are clicking on them and revealing all confidential information only to realise that they have been robbed. Why are security agencies not being able to nab these culprits? —U H Rao
Banks never send any links for furnishing information. Banks regularly send only alert messages, educating customers and urging them not to share their credentials. Our cyber crime branch is also educating people on this matter regularly through electronic and print media as well as other social media platforms. The Hyderabad cyber crime police are regularly arresting criminals involved in such frauds – mostly from Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Delhi. In 2021, 108 criminals were arrested from these states, particularly from Jharkhand. Similarly, in 2022, nine people involved in 11 cases were arrested and produced in court. Recently, the ministry of home affairs established joint coordination committees and because of the excellent co-ordination among these committees, many criminals from across states are being arrested. The main constraint comes in travel across the country to nab them and the resources – manpower and fi nancial – required to tackle the ever-increasing number of cyber frauds. We are requesting more fi nances for cyber crime investigation and trying to train more personnel to tackle them. The government has been very liberal and kind in this.
A lot of people are being defrauded through Gpay and PhonePe. Can the police not create a number (and publicise it) where victims can report something like this, instead of going to a police station to fi le a complaint? Every time someone feels there is something fi shy, they can report the contacts on this number so that the police can crack down on them. —Vijay Reddy Challa
There is a toll-free no: 1930 for reporting such crimes. This number is synchronised with Dial 100 also. So, one can call 100 and report cyber frauds. There is a reporting portal “cybercrime. gov. in” where one can report the cyber frauds.
Do you think this move to let first-time drunk drivers off the hook, by paying a penalty, justified? Do you not think it will lead to more repeat offenders? – Ashwini Nair
Actually, I do not agree with this in principle. But what happened was that in the last two years of the pandemic, the traffi c police went on registering cases and due to nonfunctioning of courts, those cases could not be disposed of. The seized vehicles were crowding our police stations and other spare grounds. In Hyderabad city itself, 28,000 cases against drunk driving were pending. It is almost impossible that such a large number can ever be cleared even if the concerned courts work full time. Therefore, as a one-time measure, with the legal services authority’s approval, it was decided to give relief to all those DD offenders. Also, the economic diffi culties due to the pandemic were kept in mind. I assure that this relief is only till March 31, 2022 and
the screws will be tightened again from the next day. So, please clear all your challans before that.
Given the rise in cases of underage driving, I wanted to know what plans the police force has, to curb this. Many people have lost lives because of this illegal practice. —Ketan Shah
Underage driving is a real problem. Sometimes, it is irresponsible parents, but many times it is the underage youth who want to experiment and drive vehicles without driving licenses. The new MV Act has increased the fi ne amount and that has brought about a sea change as it is pinching the violator. The Hyderabad traffi c police plans to take up an intensive education drive simultaneously to curb this menace as easing of Covid-19 will allow us to visit schools and colleges. We’ll use social media effectively.