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Mr. Shaji Maanathupadathu, a driver in Edappally, signed as a gurantor for a loan worth Rs. 2 lakhs is now losing his home worth Rs. 2 crores. This is happening because the bank and debt recovery officials exaggerated the outstanding interest payments to Rs.2.7 crores and have sold the house in an online auction for just Rs. 38 lakhs. This move taken by HDFC bank, debt recovery officials and the real estate mafia should be strongly condemned.

The ousting of Mr. Shaji from his home  stands as an excellent exemplar of how banks use their authority to recover non-performing assets only on helpless citizens and not on the wealthy class of our country. For the past 10 months a funeral pyre (as a mode of protest) has been staged in front his house to protest the injustice. The authorities have largely ignored the ongoing protest that has crossed more than 315 days. We are forced to issue this statement in a context where the High Court of Kerala has issued an order on 22-05-2018, which permits the ousting of Ms. Preetha Shaji’s family. The ruling came on a contempt of court petition filed by the real estate group alleging that the police is refusing to provide security to the attachment of property procedures.

Ms. Preetha Shaji, who is being victimized for the last 24 years in the name of a loan she never availed, had staged a fast unto death satyagraha. The state government was forced to intervene on day 19 of her protest when Ms. Preetha’s health condition deteriorated. Ms. Preetha called off the satyagraha after receiving assurance from the government that her family will not be ousted until a resolution is reached.

A recovery officer at the Debt Recovery Tribunal (D.R.T)has sold the property worth Rs. 2 crores to the real estate mafia for a meagre Rs. 38 lakhs.  This recovery officer faces charges and was arrested for taking bribes for selling recovered properties at lower than market price. Being denied of their rights to approach the civil court, the D.R.T (Debt Recovery Tribunal) remains the only authority the people entrapped in debts can approach for redressal. It is in such a context that the D.R.T itself has transformed into a center catering to groups that reap illicit profits from the real estate market.

In 1997 Mr. Shaji had infact sold his land to repay the outstanding interest of Rs. 1 lakhs. Despite all of this the bank has taken no step to take action against the person who has actually taken the loan and then defaulted repayment. In 2010 the village officer had submitted a report for settling the outstanding loan liability wherein the officer had surveyed Mr. Shaji’s land and evaluated 7 cents of land at Rs. 90 lakhs. The auctioning of the entire 18.5 cents of land for just Rs. 38 lakhs, in light of the above report, is clearly drenched  in corruption.

The real estate group that has bought the property in auction refuses to withdraw from the attachment procedures even after promising the return of the outstanding amount and interest. To demand Rs. 1.15 crores as a payment for not ousting is atrocious and shockening.

Our banking system and laws leave the ultra rich with more than Rs. 11 lakhs crores in outstanding liabilities untouched, but are hell bent in sending helpless individuals like Mr.Shaji to the streets.

We request the government to set aside the corrupt auctioning undertaken by the recovery officer at D.R.T.  We also request the government to hand over the inquiries pertaining to auctioning to the C.B.I and appoint a judicial commission for finding effective solutions. We also request the government to file a revision petition questioning the order issued by the Hon. High Court justifying the illicit sale of the property by the recovery officer and the appointment of commissioner to oust the family favoring the interests of real estate groups.

Medha Patkar, Narmada BachaoAndolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, MazdoorKisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, NAPM

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan;

Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad&NiyamgiriSurakshaSamiti, NAPM Odisha

Dr.Sunilam, Adv. AradhnaBhargava, KisanSangharshSamiti,

Rajkumar Sinha NAPM, Madhya Pradesh

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh VyavasayaVruthidarula Union-APVVU,

Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM,

Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM Telangana – Andhra Pradesh

Dr Binayak Sen, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL);

Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha;

KaladasDahariya, RELAA, NAPM Chhattisgarh

Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party;

Richa Singh, Sangatin;

Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn UrimayIyakkam, Madurai;

Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation;

Arul Doss, NAPM Tamilnadu

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union;

Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Karnataka

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, NAPM, Kerala

AnandMazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, ParyavaranSurakshaSamiti, NAPM Gujarat

VimalBhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti;

Basant Kumar Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand

Samar Bagchi, AmitavaMitra, NAPM West Bengal

Suniti SR, SuhasKolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, &Bilal Khan, GharBachaoGharBanaoAndolan, Mumbai NAPMMaharashtra

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), NAPM

Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar; J S Walia, NAPM Haryana

Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab

Kamayani Swami, AshishRanjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan;

MahendraYadav, KosiNavnirmanManch;

Sister Dorothy, Ujjawal Chaubey, NAPM Bihar

Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini;

Sunita Rani, Domestic Workers Union;

Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi

For details contact : 9818905316 | email : napmindia@gmail.com

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