15 Loan Borrowers Die “Unnatural Deaths” In Six Months
Probes into the 60 crore SBI loan scam in Virudhunagar and Theni districts of Tamil Nadu has revealed deaths of “on – paper borrowers” under suspicious circumstances. Velmurugan and Shenbagan, the two accused of committing the fraud have been lodged in the Periyakulam sub-jail for the past six months. The accused managed to stay out for quite some time, even after committing the crime. They were arrested following the complaint of a daily – wager, Veyil Muthu Alaguraja. After their arrest, the police have received close to 400 more complaints of cheating and fraud against the arrested duo.
At least 15 people have died and their deaths have been registered under cases of “unnatural deaths”, while one person has been reported to be missing. Yet, there have been no probes into these deaths. Identities of only three of the deceased could be confirmed until now. One of them was found dead on a road near his place of residence and the other two died in their homes. All of the 15 deceased people were workers in the mills owned by the two accused. And all of the 169 people, whom the SBI sanctioned loans for, posed as farmers when they were really daily wage workers. Their signatures were procured by the accused on the pretext of getting them government pensions. Using these signatures, money was credited into the temporary bank accounts opened in the names of these gullible, daily wage workers.
The money was then removed from these accounts by the accused. The victims of the fraud were unaware of how they had been taken advantage of till they started getting demand notices from the bank. A victim of this fraud, who was a real estate agent, who later turned to the water business, has been missing for six months. He went missing the day the bank served him a notice asking him to repay a loan of Rs. 96 lakhs.
His wife has had to pull one of their daughters out of college because she cannot pay the tuition fees anymore. The victim’s wife met Velmurugan at his office before he was arrested and begged him to pay her daughter’s tuition fee, so that she does not have to drop out of school, but to no avail. The helpless woman can only blame fate for destroying the peace and happiness of her family. But, she believes her husband will come back.
On Monday, a third suspect has been arrested. A victim’s relative even wrote a detailed complaint to the collector of the Vidhunagar district but he is yet to receive a reply from the Collector. Most of the victims were residents of this district. The Collectorate’s inaction, when so many residents of their district have been duped, is alarming.