Poor in the clutches of money lenders in Salem district Law & order

Greedy money lenders escape law as there is no evidence against them, says

R. Elangovan

Suicide of a poor labourer three days ago in the city, allegedly because of harassment by a money lender, has reopened the intense debate on whether law enforcers evoke the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act 2003 against the violators effectively.

The Government, alarmed at the increasing human rights violations in the arena of money lending, has enacted this special Act to control the exorbitant interest for the loan amounts.

But unfortunately on many occasions police show reluctance to use the Act against the culprits.

It seems to have happened in the case of the recent suicide too.

As daily wage earner at a garment industry here, the 25-year-old youth struggled to run his family with two children.

He procured cash loan from a lender who had started harassing him to repay it in full with interest. The worker reportedly committed suicide.

According to his wife who preferred a complaint against the money lender, her husband died because of the harassment by the money lender.

Holding him responsible for her husband’s death, the woman sought justice from the Collector and senior police officers.

The Kitchipalayam police under whose jurisdiction the alleged suicide had taken place are yet to register a case.

Police officers however brush aside the accusations. They claim that in these cases of money lending they are left with no clinching evidence against the lenders. These lenders use different techniques to evade the law by not maintaining any records or possessing documents.

They simply transact lakhs of rupees on mutual understanding.

It is no doubt that they do maintain their own army of goons to collect the dues from the defaulters.

The aggrieved will never come to us for the simple reason that they need money again from these lenders, says a senior officer.

Even those very few cases, which have been referred to us, lack evidence, he adds.

But rights activists claim that they are reluctant to enforce the law in letter and spirit.

They can collect evidence against any money lenders who fleece the poor and needy, the activists claim.

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