Three years ago, in October 2005, 28-year-old Himanshu Sharma, a resident of Sriniwaspuri, committed suicide after recovery agents thrashed him outside his house.
He had reportedly defaulted on the payment of Rs 1,338, a part of the loan that he had taken to buy a motorcycle.
More than 100 cases have been registered against recovery agents in the past three years and according to a senior police officer, more than 50 people have been arrested.
The Delhi Police is now working on the modalities of constituting a separate wing to tackle cases of harassment by recovery agents hired by banks and mobile phone companies.
The wing would work under the Anti Extortion Cell of the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.
“The proposal to constitute a separate wing for handling loan recovery agents is at its final stages. We are charting out the modalities and the full wing would be operational soon,” said a source.
Police to the rescue
“Generally, people complain to the banks concerned if they are being harassed. We, however, register cases if a person comes to
us with a complaint and arrest the recovery agents,” said a senior police officer.
Last year alone 30 cases of harassment by loan recovery agents were registered all over Delhi.
Racket busted by Special Cell prompted the move
The proposal to form a separate wing was prompted with the arrest of seven men last week who had posed as policemen and lawyers and had threatened several mobile phone users and credit card customers for payment of bills.
“After their arrests, more than 100 people have approached us with similar complaints. All of them have been harassed by the impostors who threatened them with dire consequences if the payments were not made,” said a senior police officer.
The police said that almost all the mobile phone companies and credit card companies had hired these goons to settle disputed accounts.
“We would be taking action against the officials who hired these recovery agents to extort money from people,” said the officer.
Cases of extortion, robbery and criminal conspiracy
Police said they register cases under section 384 (extortion), 392 (robbery), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) against the recovery agents if they get any complaint.
RBI guidelines flouted
Following many such harassment cases, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had made it mandatory for banks to conduct a police verification of the agents or employees of the agencies entrusted with the job.
The central bank had also asked banks not to forward those cases to recovery agents in which the complaints were yet to be disposed of. Police say banks hardly follow these guidelines.