The Gujarat Police have launched a drive against loan sharks, and in just one week the police have registered 416 criminal complaints against 762 loan sharks. But the question is whether the drive will end the harassment by the loan sharks.
On January 3, Gujarat Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia directed his force to arrange a lok darbar (public grievances hearing) to hear complaints against private financiers. Since then such lok darbars are being organised in each district, town and mega cities.
The police are in action mode and had arrested 316 private financiers till Friday, revealed the state police data. For a short period borrowers will have some relief, but what about the long term, will the harassment and threats stop.
It is doubtful, but the Consumer Forum and Action Committee aims to extend all support to such borrowers in the future too. Committee president Mukesh Parikh said it will provide free legal guidance to borrowers, and will help in filing cases against loan sharks.
Bhavnagar’s Rahul Patil had borrowed Rs 25,000 from Rajbha Gohil. He repaid Rs 13,000, yet he was threatened by Rajbha and his associate Kalpesh Mehta that if he did not repay all the money, they will rape his wife in his presence. In May 2022, Rahul hanged himself. No action was taken by the police and only when the victim’s sister took up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office, that the police initiated action against the financiers last week.
At the same time some are lucky and the police action has brought big relief to them. One such case is of Surat’s Nayannaben Virani who had borrowed Rs 8 lakh from private financiers. The financiers took possession of her house, and to return it they demanded Rs 80 lakh. However, because of police intervention she got her property documents and possession back.
When the police drive against loan sharks was going on, on January 12, 27-year-old Chetan Pathar consumed poison and attempted to end his life. He had borrowed Rs 6 lakh from Sandeep Punjabhai, and on January 11 night Sandeep and a few others had kidnapped Chetan in their car and took him to their village and forced him to sign 13 cheques. Fearing more harassment, he attempted suicide. Now he is being treated at a government hospital.