Imagine this scenario: A relative commits suicide. When you go to get the body, the cop asks you to pay a bribe. You pay up and cremate the body. Then cop then asks for more money. You contact NDTV and they catch the cop on camera. The cop is first suspended and then dismissed. (If you’re not familiar with this story, you can read about it here.)
What has been lost in this story is the question of why the person committed suicide. Because, his shop wasn’t doing well. And, he was unable to make the installment payments for his motorcycle. The family alleges that the bank hired men who came to his house and harassed them for the installments. Then, they took away the motorcycle. A few days later he killed himself.
While there has been indignation about what the cop did and what the family had to go through, not much attention has been focused on the bank. I’m not suggesting that the bank is to blame for the suicide. That would be oversimplifying it.
However, you have to question how the bank sanctioned a loan in the first place. The motorcycle was bought in June. The bank took back the vehicle in October. That’s four months. In four months, the bank went from giving a loan to taking back the vehicle. Isn’t that strange?
Maybe not, given that it’s SO easy to get a loan now-a-days. I get calls every other day offering me cash loans, I get letters from my bank offering loans, and everywhere you go, you can see advertisements for loans. Easy, fast, these are the buzz words you see in loan advertisements. It’s all about granting loans and getting people hooked.
But, when you give a loan, you expect payments. When the payments don’t come, what does the bank do? Hire people to recover the loans. What sort of people? The kind that can convince you with their brawn. Heck, I’ve heard of telecom companies who do this when they have to collect bills.
These collectors probably aren’t hired directly but through a “collection agency”, so that the companies can claim that they don’t know that this was going on.
That’s the story within the story.
The questions beg to be asked: What if there hadn’t been harassment for the payments? What if the bank had suggested an alternative payment plan? What if…?
We’ve found the easy answer: Nail the cop and talk about corruption in the police force. It works, but only partially, because the loan trouble and the harassment, it could happen again to someone else.
Maybe answers shouldn’t be so easy.