Udupi, Dec 27, 2017: Ravindranath Shanbhag, president, Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF), Udupi on Dec 26, Tuesday said that a woman student and her mother were being harassed on the pretext of deducting the premium amount from a loan account of the Synd Vidya education loan.
Addressing media here, Dr. Shanbhag said that the mother was receiving threat calls demanding the loan amount. The incident dated back to 2009. Aravind Joshi, the then principal of Vijaya College, Mulki, took an educational loan from Syndicate Bank, Mulki branch, for the higher education of his daughter, Maitreyi.
He managed all the transactions so that Maitreyi could study MBA and she did not know the details of the loan. During the end of her course, Aravind Joshi died in an accident. She had barely begun to contemplate the repayment of her education loan, when she recalled that the loan had been insured at United India Insurance Company.
Since, she was unable to recover the insurance policy papers, she approached the bank. She wanted to know the details such as the loan amount advanced, the amount disbursed, and insurance policy taken on the loan. Despite visiting the branch at Mulki and the Regional Office at Mangaluru, she and her mother received no information.
However, on September 20, 2012, Maitreyi received a notice to repay her loan amount and that she owed Rs. 6,05,676. In her reply, she sought details of the loan and insurance policy on it. Despite receiving 13 notices over the period of five years, she did not get response to her queries. But she was asked to attend Lok Adalat for settlement of the matter. She now owed the bank Rs. 12,37,338. Another intriguing matter was that the notices from the bank never contained any stamp or signature of the concerned authorities.
Maitreyi approached HRPF here in 2014, seeking guidance. Several letters were sent by the HRPF to the bank, including the Branch Manager and General Manager. The only response was that the higher officer would get in touch soon. But that never happened.
On perusing the bank statement of the loan account it was found that the loan amount was sanctioned in June 2009. In July, 2009, an amount of Rs. 4,350 was debited towards insurance premium. But on inquiring with the insurance company, it came to light that no policy was ever taken in either the name of Maitreyi or her father. “Then where did the debited amount go? Did someone misappropriate it? Has this come to the notice of the bank during annual audits? Did they take any action? These remain a mystery,” Dr. Shanbhag said.
When the bank could not get the loan amount, the matter was brought to the notice of Legal Services Authority, Dakshina Kannada district. The Lok Adalat sent a notice to Maitreyi. She wrote to them explaining them about the non-cooperation from the bank.
After failing everywhere, now the bank had resorted to coercing the loan amount by sending people to Maitreyi’s mother who lives alone. The HRPF was left with no other alternative but to bring the matter to notice of the people. The HRPF had already received several cases of the same nature and would support the aggrieved persons. “We will be writing a letter to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on this matter,” Dr. Shanbhag said.