Delhi Police may hang up on anti-recovery helpline | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi Police may hang up on anti-recovery helpline

Has the Capital really bid farewell to hustling recovery goons? That, police argue, is what the dwindling number of calls received by a dedicated helpline to counter the menace seems to suggest.

delhi Updated: Apr 23, 2012 01:37 IST
Jatin Anand

Has the Capital really bid farewell to hustling recovery goons? That, police argue, is what the dwindling number of calls received by a dedicated helpline to counter the menace seems to suggest.

For more than a year now, things aren't what they used to be for the Delhi Police 'Anti-Recovery Agent' helpline - which would receive hundreds of complaints from harrowed bank customers on a daily basis just three years ago.

"Though the helpline number is still operational, people have increasingly been approaching the Crime Branch or the local police directly with complaints of extortion instead of using the helpline," said Ashok Chand, additional CP (crime).

Sources claimed that the police are were now mulling pulling the plug on the helpline, which had received close to 2000 calls in just eight hours, and led to the arrests of at least two goons employed by a private bank, almost immediately after going online in late December 2008. However, Chand refused to comment on the winding up of the service.

A senior Delhi Police officer said between the years 2007 and 2009, an estimated 500 'recovery agencies' which used to provide musclemen to institutions ranging from banks to telecom companies, were thought to employ more than five lakh 'agents'.

But the call traffic on the helpline steadily dropped, as more and more recovery agents — around 50 to 75, and, sometimes, even bank managers — were nabbed on extortion charges.

"The incoming calls first started decreasing, from several hundreds to around a hundred complaints, towards the end of 2009. In 2010, it went down to around 50 and towards the beginning of 2011, the helpline simply ceased to ring," said a senior police officer.

While the police can't stop gushing about 'a planned clampdown to eradicate the menace of recovery agents' in Delhi, others attribute it to smarter thinking by those who employed them. "Instead of forcing their defaulting customers to pay-up, these companies are now taking direct recourse to law. Instead of sending musclemen they are sending legal notices," said an officer.



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