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3:11 pm - Monday November 24, 4302

TN CM ask Dist Collectors, SPs to act swiftly on complaints of usury

Agencies, Chennai

Two days after three people succumbed to burns following a self-immolation bid by a four member family due to harrassment by moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates (usurers) at the Tirunelveli district collectorate, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami today directed the district collectors and SPs to act swiftly on complaints against usurers charging exorbitant interest rates.

In a statement here, he also appealed to the people, who were harassed by usurers, to approach their respective district collectors and superintendents of police without fear and get relief, while promising all help to safeguard the people from the usurers.

Recalling the enactment of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act in 2003 by late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, he said he has directed the district collectors and superintendents of police to act swiftly on complaints received under the said Act.

He said people borrow loans from private individuals to meet their needs. But, the lenders utilising this opportunity, used to extract exorbitant interest from them, illegally.

Pointing out that the law provided stringent action against the usurers, Mr Palaniswami said it also allows a debtor to deposit the money, due in respect of loan received by him from any person together with interest at the rate fixed by the government, in the court.

The court may, on filing a petition by the debtor, order the restoration of possession of property whether movable or immovable, if any, forcibly taken by any person towards repayment of the loan.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission today, took cognizance of a complaint and ordered notice to the Tamil Nadu government seeking a report within four weeks. The State Human Rights Commission also issued a notice based on media reports and sought a detailed report from the district collector within a month.

The SHRC also directed its investigation officer, in the rank of a DGP, to investigate and submit a report within two months. It may be recalled that the labourer, Esakkimuthu along with his wife and two young children, upset over the collector and police not taking any action against his complaint against the moneylender, attempted self-immolation at the Tirunelveli Collectorate.

While his wife and two children succumbed to burns, Esakkimuthu was battling for life at the hospital. The incident created a furore as leaders of various political parties wanted the state government to own moral responsibility for the incident and demanded stern action against the police officials for failing to act on the complaint and for allegedly favouring the money-lender.

As the incident shook the entire state, police acted swiftly and arrested the money lender, Dhalavai Raj, his wife Muthulakshmi and Dalavai’s father Kalimuthu. Sub-Inspector Murugan and Head Constable Kandhasamy Kumar, who had allegedly threatened the victims and failed to act on the complaint against the moneylenders, were placed under suspension.

Posted in: Nation

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