Andhra Pradesh orders judicial probe into call money racket

Vijayawada, Dec 16 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday ordered judicial probe by a retired high court judge into call money scandal that has shocked the state.

The decision was taken at the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu here.

The probe was ordered in view of the demand from various quarters following sensational disclosure by a couple of women victims that they were sexually exploited for failing to repay the loans.

Main opposition YSR Congress has alleged that several leaders of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are involved in the scandal, which surfaced in Vijayawada and Guntur.

Under call money arrangement, one can obtain loans by making a phone call to the lender, who comes home with money and takes the loan seeker’s signature on documents.

The interest rate usually ranges from 120 percent to 200 percent. The lender also lays down the condition that he can demand return of the money over a call anytime and anywhere.

In many cases, financiers seized house, vehicles and other movable and immovable properties of the borrowers who failed to pay the loans.

The lenders even sexually exploit women. A woman lodged a complaint with police last week that she and her daughter were pushed into flesh trade.

Call money scandal is estimated to be over Rs.600 crore in Vijayawada alone.

Meanwhile, police launched a crackdown against the money lenders in Vijayawada and other towns of Andhra Pradesh.

As many as 60 call money organisers have been arrested since Tuesday. Half of them are leaders of various political parties.

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