Just when one thought that an improved law and order situation had run them out of business in Bihar, a ‘goonda bank’ — money-lending enterprise run by criminals — has surfaced in the eastern fringes of the state capital.
Residents of shanties in the Peerdamaria locality have complained to the Malsalami police that such a “bank” in indeed in business. Not only does it loan money at a high rate of interest, people who have repaid their loans are pressured for more money. If they refuse to pay, they are threatened with eviction.
Last week, the locals — many of them women below poverty line — had laid siege on the Malsalami police station, demanding action against “bank”. The situation was brought under control after DSP (Patna City) Sushil Kumar assured them that the accused would be brought to book.
Four of the victims have lodged complaints, Kumar told HT. “A three-member gang loans the money. Efforts are on to trace them."
One of the victims who filed a complaint was Kalo Devi, who had borrowed money from one Deepak Paswan.
"I had taken a loan of Rs 5,000 on 20% interest, which has already been paid. But Paswan and his associates are now demanding another Rs 35,000," she said.
Kalo’s neighbours – Baby Devi, Anju Devi and Malti Devi – are also under tremendous pressure.
Baby had taken Rs 25,000. “I have repaid the money but now they want another Rs 11,000. They have threatened to evict me from my home if I fail to pay,” she said.
Anju had taken Rs 40,000, which has been repaid. “Paswan is now asking for another Rs 15,000,” she said. She has also been threatened with eviction.
Eviction is not an empty threat.
A few days ago, the men actually tried to evict Umesh Paswan, another “creditor”, but they were foiled by the locals.