13 premises raided; bail denied to Puthenpalam Rajesh

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) Tomy Varghese on Wednesday denied bail to alleged gangster Puthenpalam Rajesh who was arrested last week on charges of illegal money lending as part of ‘Operation Blade,’ the City Police constabulary’s operation against loan sharks.

Rajesh’s counsel argued in court that 22 persons had been arrested in the raids and all except his client had been granted bail. He said this was a denial of justice. The ACJM said the police seemed to have a strong case against Rajesh and the matters raised by the counsel of the accused could be considered at a later stage of the case.

The police on Wednesday raided 13 premises of suspected underworld-linked businessmen who lent money at usurious rates of interest and used threats to get it back. They arrested four persons and seized scores of documents, including signed blank cheques, promissory notes, stamp papers, land deeds, passports, vehicle registration certificate books, and property sale agreements from their houses. The police said the accused had sought the documents from their clients as surety for the loans they had extended. Many of them had not returned the documents even after their clients paid back several times the principal amount.

Circle Inspector, Thampanoor, Sheen Tharayil said prominent among the arrested was Shine, alias Karamana Shine. He said the police seized 30 signed blank cheques, 10 promissory notes, and stamp papers from the accused. The signatories in most of the blank documents seized from him were women, mostly family of persons who had taken out loans from him, he said.

The Pettah police also arrested J. Pratyush, a resident of Chayakudi lane as part of the ongoing operation against moneylenders. The police said they suspected the accused to be a front-man for Mr. Rajesh. Investigators said they seized several incriminating documents relating to illegal money lending transactions from his house.

The police also raided the house of alleged gangster Pettah Murukan in Vanchiyoor and seized documents along with seven motorbikes his henchmen used for collecting daily interest on loans extended to a range of big and small businesses, including textile shop owners and fish vendors.

The other arrested persons include V. Devadas of Nettayam and Madhavan Nair, alias Chemba Manian of Ambalathinmukku.

The accused were produced before the court on the charges of violating Sections 13 and 17 of the Kerala Money Lenders Act and forgery and cheating under Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code. They were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.

City Police Commissioner P. Vijayan has ordered his officers to charge-sheet all the money lending cases within two weeks.