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Monday, May 14, 2007

Loans a boon or a curse?

An individual frequently takes a loan to start a new venture and to progress in that, but there seems to be a little change in the script as far as a loan taken from the Bhandari co-operative bank goes. Dr. Satyawan Nandoskar, (72), had applied for a loan at the Dadar branch of the Bhandari co-operative bank, to open a chemist shop at Dharavi. However, the repayment process is proving to be a greater problem than taking the loan. The Akhil Bhartiya Borrowers and Guarantors Sangh is now overseeing the issue.
The bank had sanctioned a loan of Rs. 3,75,000 in 1985. Of the total amount Rs. 2,65,000 was disbursed. The remaining money was adjusted against another borrower’s loan, for whom Nandoskar had stood as a guarantor.
Nandoskar lost his chemist shop in 1988 due to heavy flooding. His stock was completely ruined. “The bank had forgotten to insure the shop. They have now been adopting illegal ways to recover the money,” says Anil Pai, the president of the Akhil Bhartiya Borrowers and Guarantors Sangh. The problem has been referred to the Sangh, which is a registered organisation. “Nandoskar had already paid Rs. 10.5 lakhs to date. The bank is still charging him around Rs. 24 lakhs with an interest rate of 16.5 percent as of January 1,” he added.
“In 2004, the bank officials forcibly entered my premises and demanded the payment of the money. They threatened to disturb my daughter’s engagement ceremony, which was going on at that time. They forcibly took a cheque of Rs. 5.5 lakhs from me as a one-time settlement (OTS). I had requested them not to deposit the cheque right away. However, they deposited the cheque, and the non-payment of the amount saw a case being registered against me. I am still fighting that case,” said Nandoskar.
“In 2006, Ratilal Bhole, a special recovery and sales officer (SRO) of the Bhandari co-op bank barged into Nandoskar’s house in his absence. They did not have any court orders to do so. With the help of the Kidwai road police station the SRO put a Raj Mudra (a government seal), which has been banned by the central government, on the house and sealed it. The house had never been mortgaged to the bank. They evicted his mother and wife. All of the original documents with the original share certificates are in the possession of Nandoskar,” said Pai.
The SRO, Ratilal Bhole refused to comment on the issue. However, D. P. Shetye, the CEO of the Bhandari co-operative bank, claims that they have the required court orders and that they conducted the necessary legal procedures. The organisation has approached the divisional joint registrar and a case has been filed. The first hearing will be on June 19. The Kidwai road police station is investigating the issue, and has stopped the bank from taking away the personal belongings such as the furniture or consumer durables of Nandoskar. “The OTS was not granted, which is applicable as per the RBI rules and amounted to Rs. 8 lakhs. The bank is eyeing Nandoskar’s property,” said Pai. With the court hearing coming up, the issue will soon reach a decisive stage.

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