The Director General of Police on Monday informed the Madras High Court Bench here that only 20 out of 1,531 cases filed in the State under the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act, since its enactment in 2003, had ended up in conviction so far.
In a report filed before Justice N. Kirubakaran through Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian, DGP K. Ramanujam said: “The police are keen on initiating action against the offenders but the borrowers are sometimes unwilling to pursue the cases, choosing for settlements.”
Further, stating that he had issued a circular to all Commissioners and Superintendents of Police on July 17 directing them to take stringent action against usurers, the DGP opined that there was no necessity to form a special wing for investigating such cases as suggested by the High Court.
The circular issued by the DGP stated that Station House Officers and Special Branch staff must be on the lookout for people engaged in usury and money lending at exorbitant rates and that complaints received in that regard should be enquired into promptly.
Apart from appending the circular to his report, the DGP provided district-wise statistics of usury cases registered by the police from 2003, and it stated that Tirunelveli district had recorded the highest number of 257 cases, followed by Virudhunagar district (237 cases), Madurai district (220 cases) and Madurai city (188 cases).
The number of cases filed in other cities was: Chennai – 42, Tiruchi – 11, Coimbatore – 25, Salem – 10, Tirunelveli – 30 and Tiruppur – 26. Kancheepuram, Ariyalur and Perambalur districts had not recorded even a single case on the charge of collection of exorbitant interest.
While Tiruvallur, Villupuram, The Nilgiris, Tiruchi, Karur and Pudukottai districts had registered just one case each under the 2003 Act, the cases registered in Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts were only in single digits.
The DGP said out of the 1,531 cases, 297 were under investigation, 331 pending trial, 20 ended up in conviction, 388 in acquittal and 257 were closed as ‘mistake of fact.’ Further action was dropped in 144 cases and charge sheets had been filed in 94 cases before the lower courts concerned.
After taking the report on file, Mr. Justice Kirubakaran adjourned the hearing in the case till September 22.