Hassle-free loans that were just a call away but at very high interest rates are the first part of this massive scam, which was designed to eventually pull the women into large debt traps.
Three women who said they were victims of the “call money” scam have tried to commit suicide at the house of their money lender at Repalle in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district.
Hailing from Guntur, the three women—Dasari Venkateshwaramma, her sister Rajani and daughter Lakshmi—barged into the money lender's compound and poured kerosene all over themselves. However, the timely intervention of the police, who were alerted by neighbours, prevented them from lighting the fire.
Dasari, a basket weaver, says she had borrowed Rs 1.55 lakh from the money lender at such a high interest rate that the amount shot up to Rs 7 lakh. She said she started receiving several legal notices from the lender but had no way of paying the amount back.
"We got no help from the administration. Suicide was our last resort,” said Rajani after the attempted suicide.
“Call money” scam refers to a series of various forms of exploitation linked to money lending, where victims are primarily women who struggled to make ends meet.
Hassle-free loans that were just a call away but at very high interest rates are the first part of this massive scam, which is designed to eventually pull the women into large debt traps.
Once the borrowers have been immersed in debts, the racket, which allegedly involves several high-profile politicians, would coerce them into surrendering their houses or lands, and in some cases into sexual submission.
Also, there have been reported instances of the lenders drugging the victims and raping them while filming the act. And with those videos, the victims would be further blackmailed. A task force formed to investigate the scam found that the gang made around Rs 400 crore in one year out of this.