Paldi-based Avanish Vinod Patel was not the only one to have committed suicide under pressure from moneylenders in the recent past. Patel (38) had killed his mother,wife and son before committing suicide at the familys bungalow in Pritamnagar on June 16.
In the last two years,as many as 17 people took the extreme step owing to harassment by moneylenders. This was revealed by the state government on the floor of the Assembly on Thursday.
In a reply to a question by Legislator Amarsinh Vasava,the Home Department admitted that 17 people had committed suicide to escape harassment from moneylenders in two years till March 31,2009. The maximum suicides had been reported from Rajkot,followed by Ahmedabad.
According to Home Department officials,the police took action against moneylenders by booking them under various sections of the Indian Penal Code,including 305 (pertaining to abetment of suicide),384 (punishment for extortion),386 (extortion by issuing threats of death) as also under various sections of the Moneylenders Act.
But these actions seem to be of little use in deterring moneylenders from using extortion methods to recover their money along with high amount of interest,in case the borrowers suffered losses in their businesses and delayed the repayment.
On Friday itself,Rachna Thaker,a resident of the upmarket Satellite area,lodged a complaint with the local police,alleging that her husband Hitesh was being threatened by a moneylender named Yasin. The latter had reportedly given Rs 2 lakh as loan,but was demanding back an amount Rs 5 lakh because of a high interest rate.
Recently,Dharmesh Prajpati,a 28-year-old businessman based at Odhav in Ahmedabad attempted suicide after he was unable to repay Rs 20 lakh he had borrowed from some moneylenders at a very high interest rate. According to the police,two men had reportedly come to his office and had threatened him.
In the last week of June,Vasant Gohil,another businessman,committed suicide at his house in Ellisbridge owing to alleged harassment by moneylenders. In his suicide note,Gohil had mentioned the names of two moneylenders from whom he had borrowed the money and who he said,were constantly harassing him.
This January,a 35-year-old businessman,Manish Dholakia,a resident of Malivad village in Wadhwan taluka of Surendranagar district,attempted suicide by setting himself ablaze outside the premises of the district collectors office on Republic Day. Dholakia,who was drenched in kerosene,was overpowered by the collectorate staff and handed over to the police.
During interrogation,he told the police that he and his family were being harassed by illegal moneylenders despite the fact that he had already repaid the Rs 25 lakh he had borrowed from them.