After a rickshaw driver was allegedly beaten by loan collectors in the Kharadi area and a photo of him lying on the ground in a semi-conscious state went viral, the rickshaw drivers Push approached Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and demanded strict measures. In particular, they called for legal action against the debt collectors, including those of Bajaj Finance Ltd. The company said it was looking into the matter.
The alleged incident sparked protests from rickshaw drivers and owners. Earlier this week, the driver, identified as Kishore Pawar, was allegedly beaten by loan collectors from Bajaj Finance Ltd, for alleged non-payment of his IME.
Pawar, who was admitted to hospital by other drivers, filed a complaint with the Chandannagar police station. Inspector Sunil Jadhav said: “We recorded an unrecognizable offense against the recovery officers. Pawar suffered a few injuries but was released from the hospital. However, two days ago Pawar complained to us that he was not feeling well and that his condition had worsened due to the injury he sustained. We are investigating the matter, ”he said, adding that MNS employees have met with him and demanded firm action in the matter.
Baba Kamble, chairman of Maharashtra Rickshaw Panchayat, said Pawar was beaten up when he told debt collectors he had no money to repay the loan. “He told them that due to the Covid restrictions his income had dropped and as a result he was not able to repay the loan,” Kamble said.
Kamble added that after disclosing his inability to repay the loan, officers started beating him up. “Everyone threw themselves at him, beat him, smashed his cell phone and threw him to the ground. He stayed there for quite a while in a semi-conscious state before being transferred to the hospital. According to my information, he suffered serious injuries, ”he said.
Kamble also said they wrote to Chief Minister as well as Home Secretary Dilip Walse-Patil urging them to expand their support for rickshaw drivers hit hard by Covid restrictions. “Over the past 14 months, rickshaw business has suffered a massive setback due to Covid restrictions. Motorists were unable to repay their loans to finance companies and banks. If they don’t have the money to feed their families, how are they going to repay their loans? Rickshaw drivers face a survival problem, ”he said.
Kamble said they had urged the CM to ask financial companies to postpone their takeover campaign until business returned to normal and Covid restrictions were completely relaxed. “Our delegation will also meet personally with the Chief Minister and seek his assistance,” he said.
Kamble also alleged that finance companies were forcibly removing vehicles if rickshaw drivers were unable to repay their loans. “Businesses don’t even consider the plight of motorists because of Covid. They beat the drivers and take their vehicles by force. It is illegal and inhumane. Businesses should go to court first, and only on the instruction of the courts, they have the right to seize vehicles for non-payment of the loan, ”he said.
Inspector Jadhav said: “Financial companies are supposed to inform the nearest police station of their action. However, they give us a general indication but not a specific indication. “
In a statement, Bajaj Finance Limited said, “We value our clients and hold them in high regard. We have a standard policy and process for dealing with clients and do not tolerate any inappropriate conduct or violation thereof, whether by employees or agency staff. We are in the process of verifying the details of the incident and will work with the relevant authorities to bring the matter to its appropriate conclusion. “