In April 2015, Annapurna police in Indore booked the nephew of mayor Malini Gaud and his friend in a case of abetment to suicide.
According to police, Khemchand Rathi, resident of Sudama Nagar ended his life and wrote in his suicide note that he was ‘under the pressure’ of moneylenders.
Police later found that the mayor’s nephew, accused Abhijit Gaud had lent Rs 3 lakh to Rathi but had allegedly mentioned Rs 6 lakhs in the documents.
Police claimed that Rathi used to pay him Rs 50,000 as interest and was also being ‘pressurised’ to return the money.
This is just one of the many incidents in Indore where people have committed suicide after being harassed by money lenders for repayment.
According to an estimate, around 10 people have committed suicide claiming harassment by moneylenders in the last two months.
Senior police officials claim they have instructed the in-charge of all police stations that any case related money lenders should be lodged immediately and prompt action initiated.
Though several cases were lodged following the directives, things have, however, not changed on the ground. On Monday night, a prominent builder of the city consumed poisonous substance and committed suicide in Vijay Nagar area.
The victim, identified as Hemant Goyal (50), a resident of Suncity was the owner of a construction company and as per his suicide note he was being harassed by some money lenders.
In a 2-page suicide note which was found from the spot, Goyal had mentioned the names of three moneylenders Ashwin Mehta, Sharad Kale and Naval Garg, who have been book by the police under sections 306 IPC and Money Lending Act.
Additional director general and inspector general (Indore zone) Vipin Maheswari is of the view that the suicides reflect the failure by the organised sector to provide loans.
“The organised sector’s failure is reflected in these suicides. Why are people of Indore borrowing money from private moneylenders? These questions should be answered by the organised banking sector,” he said.
Another senior police official said on conditions of anonymity that conspicuous consumption is rising which is leading to borrowing.
“To borrow money from a private person is purely a civil matter. It has its benefits and hazards. It is everywhere but in Indore it is visible because of suicides. Our job is to ensure that no one gets harassed because of moneylenders and we will assure that action is taken against them,” he said.
The control of usury has been a standard part of administrative work in India from the time of the British and in Madhya Pradesh the first such law was the Madhya Pradesh Sahukar Act 1934 which clearly sets out that and a person conducting the business of advancing loans, a sahukar, has to register with the appropriate authority which is generally a sub-divisional magistrate.
Milind Labhate (22) allegedly committed suicide by setting himself ablaze due to the pressure of moneylender in Banganga area in March 2015. He sustained 50 per cent burn injuries. His father took loan from a moneylender for his sister’s wedding.
A 46-year-old tailor of Rajendra Nagar area committed suicide by jumping in front of a speeding train near in January 2015 . He was allegedly harassed by the moneylenders.
Two persons apparently dejected over perpetual mental torture being meted out to them by moneylenders ended their lives following a suicide in April. As per the suicide note they were pressurized by four moneylenders. The two victims of moneylenders were identified as Raju, a resident of CPWD quarter and Rakesh, a resident of Bholenath Dham colony. While Raju was working as a lineman, Rakesh ran a fish shop.