Kerala intensifies crackdown on loan sharks

Kerala intensifies crackdown on loan sharks

The Kerala government has intensified the crackdown on loan sharks and illegal money-lending with Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala turning to social media to address complaints.

Chennithala, through his Facebook account, has invited complaints from people who come across instances of harassment by loan sharks. The minister also published a dedicated mobile number and e-mail address on his Facebook page to invite complaints.

The state government had commenced the crackdown – named Operation Kuberan – after a family of five in Thiruvananthapuram committed suicide last week following alleged harassment by money lenders.

The family is learnt to have run into debts of crores of rupees. Chennithala’s initiative has drawn praise from some quarters if the feedback on his Facebook page is any indication. The minister, however, has his task cut out in the backdrop of reports that senior police officials were involved in operations by loan shark rackets that are locally dubbed “the blade mafia”.

On Tuesday, Chennithala said the government was seriously following up on the reports of police connection with the rackets. “We have been receiving information on involvement of senior police officials. These officials have already been brought under the scanner,” the minister told reporters in Kottayam. As part of the crackdown on police officials involved in the rackets, a vigilance raid was conducted at a police station in Kottarakkara, in Kollam district, on Tuesday.