Bihar: Police seek ban on several illegal gaming apps among 100+ others

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Bihar police in their latest action against illegal gaming and loan apps have sought help of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asking them to ban more than 100 of these apps for alleged money laundering and financial threat to the Indian consumers.

Additional Director General (ADG) of Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar police, Nayyar Hasnain Khan told that the EOU has approached MeitY directly regarding the ban on these apps in a statement to PTI.

“The decision was taken after confirming that these apps attract Section 69 of the Information Technology (IT) Act as they contain materials which is prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India. Several complaints had been received of extortion and harassment from people who had borrowed very small amounts through such loan lending apps,” Nayyar Hasnain Khan said.

MeitY previously took a similar action for domains of over 200 apps, including betting and gaming apps, that were operating in the country illegally. The action was taken under Section 69A of IT Act that grants MeitY the power to restrict apps disrupting the security, sovereignty, and integrity of the nation.

Popular games PUBG Mobile and BGMI were also banned previously under the same act. However, BGMI is currently unbanned for a temporary period after the company made changes to the game servers and in-game violence depiction.

According to Khan, the EOU has received multiple complaint against the listed apps. While there is no public list, it is possible that many of these apps might be from the last ban wave from MeitY using a mirror domain to operate.

Khan further added, “It’s a serious offence and such digital lending, gaming, and gambling apps must be banned as they pose a threat to financial security of the country. We are keeping a strict vigil on the activities of online lending platforms.”

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been very active in promotion of safe practices and taking severe actions against illegal and unsafe apps and websites in the past. This time, too, the MIB issued an advisory stating betting and gambling apps and their surrogates as illegal. It also stated that advertising of such platforms is punishable under Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995, Consumer Protection Act 2019, and the IT Rules 2021 under relevant sections.