Money lenders vs. borrowers: Claims and counter claims become the order of the day
SHILLONG: The twisted case of abduction in Shillong city recently turned out to be somewhat like a blame game between two parties—money lenders and the borrowers each accusing the other of various atrocities levelled against them and it all started with an FIR filed against one Rosita Lyngdoh Nongbri, who belongs to the money lenders' party.
Last week, one woman had filed an FIR against Nongbri of Mawlai Nonglum for abducting her daughter, Elizabeth Rynjah from Lumshyiap and forcibly making her sign some papers. However, just days after the FIR was filed, the accused person came up with a different version of the whole situation, and counter charged the other party stating that the allegations levelled against her were baseless and alleged that the false complaint was filed against her after the complainant failed to repay the money borrowed from her.
Claiming that the complainant along with three other women were involved in this set up, Nongbri said that the main reason for the complaint filed against her was mainly because these women failed to repay the money lent to them by her as a loan.
The accused further said that she had given an amount of Rs 4.40 lakh to the three people– Elizabeth Rynjah, Babika Nongrum (Babita) and Jeny Malngiang. "But they failed to repay the loan amount to me," she said.
Meanwhile, a day after the accused gave her version of the story; the complainant's party came up with a rather different version of the whole situation, projecting the accused in 'bad light'.
According to Elizabeth Rynjah, the accused person, Nongbri had forcefully asked her to get inside the vehicle in the presence of her husband. "My husband was asked to go away and then she (Nongbri) took me to her house in Mawlai Nonglum and forced me to sign a blank paper, of which I rejected to do so," Rynjah said.
She also admitted the fact that she did borrowed money from Nongbri in the month of March, an amount of Rs 30,000 and not Rs 4.40 lakh as alleged by the latter. "According to our terms of agreement, Nongbri had agreed to let us pay the interest rate fixed by Nongbri, i.e. Rs 9000 per month which was 30 percent of the principal amount," Rynjah said.
Alleging that Nongbri back tracked from the agreement by pressurising her to pay the interest rate every week, Rynjah said "If we failed to pay up, she would often come to my house and embarrass and harass me in front of my family members threatening to call the police if I fail to pay her money," adding that till date, she had already paid Rs 36,000 as interest rate.
Citing similar version, Babika Nongrum of Nongmynsong said that she too experienced the same treatment and received many threats from Nongbri and her sister, Renu Nongbri. "I took Rs 70,000 as loan from Nongbri in March and I was asked to pay Rs 15,000 as interest rate every week which is also 30 percent of the principal amount. Wihtin two months, from March till April, the payment was made 8 times and still they keep on demanding me to pay the interest rate and I failed to do so, they would come over and take away all our belongings while threatening to embarrass us in front of the whole locality," she said.
Another borrower, Jenny Malngiang stated that she had taken Rs 1 lakh from Nongbri three years back but due to family problems, she was unable to repay Nongbri as a result of which she was asked to work in their house from morning till night without payment.
It may be reminded that Nongbri had also accused CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing of borrowing money from her in 2007 and alleged that because she did not received the money, Kharshiong was quick on drawing conclusions and getting involved in the matter without hearing both parties.
Countering these charges, CSWO President Agnes Kharshiing today brushed aside allegations while stating that she took up the matter with the borrowers' party based on atrocities and abuses made against them by the loan sharks. "Firstly, this form of lending money with a high interest rate and without proper verification and witness is illegal as it would give ample opportunities for the loan sharks to pressurise the borrowers," she said.
Referring to the recent suicide case wherein a woman had committed suicide only because to repay the money she borrowed from one woman, Kharshiing said that if this trend continues, many people, especially the poor people will be compelled to resort to such extreme measures.
According to Kharshiing, going by the book of law, this form of lending money with high interest rate is illegal."As per the clause of RBI, private money lenders can lend money with only 3 percent as interest rate," she said.
When asked about their action plans, the borrowers said that they will form an organisation to ensure that none of these loan sharks can get away with harassment and abuse. "We are forming this organisation to sustain ourselves and to ensure that no one would have to commit suicide just because they can't repay the money or fear of embarrassment," Rynjah said.