A police team from Gujarat landed in Patiala’s Banera Kalan to arrest a farmer, Lachhman Singh (42), in a cheque bounce case filed by a private bank against him in Ahmedabad. The four-member team of Gujarat Police, which was accompanied by local policemen from Nabha, was made to return after farmer union leaders reached the village and staged a protest.
Lachhman Singh has been facing a criminal case under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 based on the bank’s complaint.
“A team of four cops from Gujarat and local police from Nabha reached his place on Thursday with arrest warrants. Lachhman Singh was not at home at that time and they started threatening the family members, who then they contacted us,” said Harvinder Singh Ageta, leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta, Dakuanda.
Lachhman Singh and his other brother, Ram Singh (50), had taken Rs 1.40 crore loan collectively by pledging 22 acre land worth Rs five crore in 2014. The farmer brothers till around 50 acres land between them, including 22 acres of their own and remaining 28 on lease at the rate of Rs 55,000 to 60,000 rent per acre annually.
“This loan was our crop loan limit against 22 acres. We had returned Rs 44 lakhs to the bank, but then our two potato crops went bad. To harass me, the bank filed the cheque bounce cases — one in Chandigarh and another in Ahmedabad in Gujarat ,” said Lachhman.
BKU general secretary Jagmohan Singh said: “This is shameful for Punjab government that police from another state has come to arrest a farmer and that too in crop loan case under the illegal practice of blank cheques being obetained by banks.”
ASI Gurcharan Singh of Nabha Sadar police station, who accompanied police team from Ahemdabad, said that they had come to arrest him under a bailable offence and then village panchayat intervened and after getting assurance from sarpanch the police party went back.