Police at three police stations in Karachi are investigating a major fraud in which a couple who ran a so-called car financing company sucked up millions of rupees from hundreds of customers and disappeared without a trace after their offices closed.
Butt & Sons Pvt Ltd opened three offices in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Tariq Road and DHA within two years. So far, 14 FIRs have been registered in three police stations. Seven FIRs were recorded against the owners at the Aziz Bhatti Police Station, five in Ferozabad and two at the Defense Police Station.
This is how the car loan fraud worked
The company invited applications by posting an ad on OLX and a Facebook account.
She offered customers a car of their choice at an interest rate of 5%. This was extremely attractive as banks typically offer a car loan at an interest rate of 11%.
The company encouraged applicants to come to one of their three branches in person for paperwork.
When an applicant arrived at the branch, he or she was told to meet with an investigator first. This officer asked questions about the applicant’s place of residence and occupation and then sent them to the supervisor.
The applicant signed a contract with the company and paid a deposit determined in the negotiations. The agreement stated that the investigator would check the notarizations of the applicant and two guarantors.
“The verification process takes fifteen days, begins on the day of deposit, and if an applicant cancels the deal before verification begins, 26% of their deposit will be deducted,” the agreement says.
Some other terms of delivery and installment payments were mentioned in the agreement, but the process did not proceed after the deposit was paid.
What the victims experienced
Hundreds of people have fallen for it.
“I booked a Mira on Aug 22, 2020 and paid Rs 100,000 as a deposit,” said a Lyari resident, Naveed. “The total cost of the vehicle was Rs 1.2 million, but the company continued to insist that the guarantor mentioned in the agreement was fake.”
Naveed said he replaced many guarantors to get the booked car, but the company told him everyone was wrong. “When I was exhausted, I went to the office on Tariq Road on January 15th, but found it locked,” he said.
Abu Muhammad Fahad Syed, who lives in Gulzar-e-Hijri, has had the same experience. He booked a Honda City for 2.4 million rupees and paid 100,000 rupees as a deposit on September 31, 2020, but the company kept saying its sponsor was also incorrect.
“When I met all of the requirements, the guarantor had to be approved and then they showed some default values on my file,” said Syed. “On January 19th, I went to the Tariq Road store to get my deposit back, but found it locked.”
An employee who asked for anonymity told Samaa Digital that the company opened its first store in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and then moved to Tariq Road and DHA.
“Initially, one person, Bilawal Khan Baladi, ran the company, but he later left, handing it over to Rayyan Butt,” said the employee. “Rayyan married a co-worker named Waniya and the couple have been running the three branches ever since.”
The employee, who claimed to have a list of all victims, said the company took Rs 100,000 from more than 500 people but did not hand over a single car.
56 people were employed in three branches. “The owners offered a fixed salary and a commission for booking a car,” said the employee. “I got 25,000 rupees a month, but I would get 1,000 rupees as commission for booking a car.”
Even this employee found the office locked when they left last month. “I called Rayyan and Waniya, but their cell phones were turned off.”
The owners fled, but the victims went to the police and registered proceedings against us, the employee claimed.
Aziz Bhatti Station Investigation Officer (SIO) inspector Fareeduddin confirmed that seven cases have been filed against Butt & Sons at his police station. However, he could not share any development and said that he would do so on his return to Karachi.
Ferozabad SIO inspector Tariq Baig said five cases had been recorded at his police station and a number of people came every day to be included in the investigation.
The couple had left town and gone into hiding, but police located and arrested three key employees a few days ago.
The defendants were tried and taken into custody, but were given bail.