92 held from different parts of State

Spurred by the suicide of five members of a bankrupt family in the capital on Saturday, all victims of an illegal money-lending racket, the police on Sunday conducted raids on suspected loan sharks across the State.

Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham said the police conducted inspections on 276 premises, arrested 17 persons suspected to be loan sharks or their agents, seized nearly Rs.8 lakh, and registered 32 cases under the Kerala Money Lenders Act, 1958, in Thiruvananthapuram Rural/City, Pathanamthitta, and Kollam. As many as 134 police teams were involved in the raids in these districts.

In similar raids in other parts of the State, the police searched 1,000 premises, including houses and lodges, arrested 75 persons, and registered as many as 125 cases.

They seized Rs.50 lakh from the suspects.

Operation Kuberan

State Police Chief K.S. Balasubramanian, who headed the State-wide operation code-named “Operation Kuberan,” ordered all station house officers in the State to open a separate police station register, history sheet, for illegal moneylenders who charged usurious rates of interest and used criminal force and intimidation to get it back with interest from their clients.

He also asked the police to keep a constant tab on the activities of loan sharks and to book recurrent offenders in the category under the provisions of the Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act.

The police seized hundreds of “signed” blank cheques, promissory notes, passports, bond papers, sale agreements for landed properties, original title deeds, and registration books of vehicles, including two-wheelers, all documents collected as security from loan seekers. The raids would continue in the coming days.