Tamil Nadu

Police launch ‘Operation Kanthuvatti’

Hours after a constable died by suicide allegedly due to harassment by a usurious moneylender in Cuddalore district, Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu on Tuesday ordered the launch of ‘Operation Kanthuvatti’ across Tamil Nadu to curb the menace.

Commissioners/Superintendents of Police were told to take up cases of usury pending at all police stations and initiate action under the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act, 2003, against the suspects.

Investigation officers were told to launch searches at suspected locations after obtaining legal opinion and informing the jurisdictional courts to seize incriminating documents, valuables, property documents, signed blank cheques, promissory notes and securities that the victims of usury might have pledged to borrow at high rates of interest, police sources said.

Calling for a thorough follow-up action and successful prosecution of usury cases, Mr. Sylendra Babu said officers who did exemplary work in ‘Operation Kanthuvatti’ would be suitably recognised.

The issue of usury took a turn when constable M. Selvakumar of Cuddalore district ended his life by consuming poison. Police sources said Selvakumar, attached to the Xth Tamil Nadu Special Police Battalion, Ulundurpettai, had borrowed ₹5 lakh from a moneylender at Mathuvanaimedu in the district in 2020. He signed blank stamp papers as guarantee. Police inquiries revealed that he repaid ₹3 lakh by bank transfer and ₹2 lakh in cash.

However, the moneylender made entries in the blank stamp papers to make out that Selvakumar had taken ₹12 lakh in loan and pressured him to settle the remaining ₹6 lakh. The accused person even lodged a complaint with the crime branch police who asked Selvakumar to repay the loan at the earliest to avoid legal action.

Unable to bear with the pressure, he consumed poison on June 1. While going to the office of the Superintendent of Police, Cuddalore, to report his grievance, he fell unconscious near the district court campus. Selvakumar was admitted to hospital where he died on Tuesday, the sources said. The moneylender was taken into custody.

( Assistance for overcoming suicidal tendency is available on State Helpline 104.)

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Printable version | Sep 3, 2022 1:35:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/police-launch-operation-kanthuvatti/article65505009.ece