341 African passports seized from loan shark

341 African passports seized from loan shark

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) has arrested the owner of an electronics store in Kalyan Nagar, east Bengaluru, who had lent the money to hundreds of Africans by keeping their passports, residential permits, laptops, mobile phones and personal vehicles as collateral.

B Muniraju’s clients were African students running short of money towards the end of the month.

He would lend them money at 5% interest. The CCB’s women and narcotics wing raided his store, Mercury Electronics, on HRBR-CMR College Road in Kalyan Nagar
2nd Block following credible information, a senior officer said.

The sleuths seized 341 passports, 83 residential permits, 93 laptops, 155 mobile phones, four two-wheelers and seven four-wheelers. The seized properties are valued at Rs 34 lakh. The passports belonged to citizens of countries like Congo, Namibia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. Almost half of the passports belonged to Congolese nationals. Muniraju didn’t easily lend the money to Nigerians whom he perceived as indulging in “fraudulent” activities, the officer said.

The CCB is investigating whether the seized passports had been tampered with or were used by travellers with fake identity. Muniraju (45), a resident of Kacharakanahalli, has been remanded in judicial custody by a local court.

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