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One more call money operator arrested in Andhra Pradesh; documents seized


Police on Saturday arrested a “call money” operator in the ongoing crackdown in Andhra Pradesh on unlicensed businessmen collecting high interest from borrowers. The arrested, identified as Kommireddy Venkata Subba Reddy, a native of Gudivada in Krishna district, used to allegedly charge exorbitant interest rate from borrowers, police said. The 47-year-old operated his finance business in Gudivada as well as Vijayawada.

Police seized 1,469 promissory notes, 911 blank bank cheques, 59 bank passbooks and 83 ATM cards from him, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) L K V Ranga Rao told reporters here. After receiving complaints from many victims (borrowers), police collected “substantial evidence” against Reddy and placed him under arrest, he said.

The accused used to provide finance only to government employees, particularly those from Railways. Reddy would collect blank cheques and ATM cards from borrowers, who were also made to sign promissory notes, the officer said. He would not allow borrowers to know their salary details and the amount repaid to him, Rao said. If any borrower dared to question him on repayment, Reddy used either force or filed legal cases against them, the DCP said, adding many families have been ruined because of his finance business.

Andhra Pradesh has been rocked by “call money” racket. It refers to a mode of private lending where loan is made available instantly at borrower's doorstep but at exorbitant rates of interest, and the lender can demand repayment anytime over a call. So far, over 80 call money operators have been arrested across the state and some of them allegedly have links with political parties. The issue rocked the Assembly early this week, leading the Telugu Desam Party-led government to order a judicial probe into illegal private lending.

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