The Surat police Monday arrested 12 money-lenders accused of illegally charging higher interest rates from the lower-income category in a drive against loan sharks launched in the Pandesara and Khatodara areas. Incidentally, Gautam Patel, the husband of Surat city AAP women’s unit president Nita Patel, is among the accused and is at large, the police said.
Gautam has been accused of lending Rs 2 lakh and collecting Rs 4.50 lakh, in addition to taking open plot documents from the victim.
Those arrested have been identified as Omprakash Mishra, Kishan alias Sonu Rajbhar, Kiranben Shah, Pavan Agrawal, Navin Chaubey, Ashish Rajput, Nikunj Patel, Rakesh Nikumbe, Rajesh Rabari, Janardhan Singh, Vishal Patel, and Sunny Chevli. They had loaned Rs 19 lakh and have so far collected Rs 37.50 lakh from the victims. They continue to collect money from them at rates ranging between 5 per cent and 100 per cent, the police said.
“Many of the loan sharks have been active since the past eight years, while some of them started this year. We have collected WhatsApp data, call-recording and diaries from the lenders,” said Deputy Commissioner of Surat police Zone 4.
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The police have registered offences under the Money Laundering Act Sections 33 and 42(a)(d).