Pune: Pune police have arrested three  persons including a woman from New Delhi for allegedly duping over sixty people in Maharashtra by them promising loans at a low interest rate.

Deepak Sakore, deputy commissioner of police (cyber and economic offences), said Rajesh Kumar Soni, Kamal Chaudhari and Garima Pahva were arrested in the national capital yesterday while the main accused, Rakesh Bhardwaj, who is `editor-in-chief' of a newspaper called 'Saksham Media', was absconding.

The accused operated from Delhi, he said. The complainant, who lives in Pune, received a text message some months ago promising a loan of up to Rs 25 lakh at 4 per cent annual interest.

"The message also claimed that the applicant need not pay any interest for the next six months. The complainant immediately replied and expressed desire to get a loan of Rs 22 lakh.

"The accused then made him pay Rs 5.5 lakh in the name of processing fee, bank charges, chartered accountant charges, etc., said Sakore.

Eventually the complainant realised that he had been cheated and approached the police.

"During the interrogation, we have come to know that the this racket has duped 62 people from Maharashtra to the tune of Rs 1.60 crore in the name of `Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme', the DCP said.

The accused would tell the potential victims that cheap loans were being offered under this (fictitious) scheme. The three arrested accused were produced in a court here today and remanded in police custody till July 5.