New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday raided online payment gateways like Razorpay, Cashfree, Paytm as part of an ongoing probe in connection with the Chinese instant loan app case.
The raids are currently underway at six premises in Bengaluru. The case is based on 18 numbers of FIRs registered by the Cyber Crime Police Station in Bengaluru City.
The cases were registered against numerous entities and persons in connection with their involvement in extortion and harassment of the public who had availed small amount of loans through the mobile apps.
During preliminary enquiries, the central probe agency found that these entities were controlled and operated by Chinese Persons. "The modus operandi of these entities is by using forged documents of Indians and making them as dummy directors of those entities, they are generating proceeds of crime," the ED said.
The agency further said that these entities were doing their illegal business through various merchant IDs and accounts held with payment gateways and banks.
"The premises of Razorpay Pvt Ltd, Cashfree Payments, Paytm Payment Services Ltd and entities controlled/operated by Chinese Persons are covered in the search operation," it said.
During the search operation, the ED said, it was observed that these entities were generating proceeds of crime through various merchant IDs and accounts held with payment gateways. "...they are also not operating from the addresses given on the MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) website/registered address and having fake addresses. An amount of Rs 17 crore has been seized in merchant IDs and bank accounts of these Chinese persons-controlled entities," the ED said.
Reacting to the raids, Cashfree Payments in a statement said that it extended diligent co-operation to the ED operations, "providing them the required and necessary information on the same day of enquiry. Our operations and on-boarding processes adhere to the PMLA and KYC directions, and we will continue to do so in the time to follow."
The Razorpay spokesperson said that some of its merchants were being investigated by law enforcement agency about a year and a half back. "As part of the ongoing investigation, the authorities requested additional information to help with the investigation. We have fully cooperated and shared KYC and other details. The authorities were satisfied by our due diligence process," it said.
Paytm too responded saying it was supporting law enforcement agencies, which are investigating a specific set of merchants. "The authorities reached out to us with directions to provide certain information about these merchants under scrutiny, to which we promptly responded. We continue to cooperate with the authorities and remain fully compliant,” the company spokesperson said.
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