The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bankmen on attachment drive heckled

Senior officers of Allahabad Bank were heckled by a mob in Behala on Tuesday noon when they arrived to attach a property belonging to a loan defaulter.

The property acquisition process, initiated by Allahabad Bank for the first time in the city, ran into stormy weather after a local Trinamul Congress leader, along with other youths, tried to prevent the bank officers from putting up notices on the building belonging to defaulter Ranjit Deb. “We had nearly finished our job when some slogan-shouting persons roughed up our men. We have lodged an FIR with the police,” said the bank’s manager (recovery) Debmalya Mitra.

Ranjit Deb, a small trader, took a business loan of Rs 5 lakh from the bank in early 1996, against his shop near the Behala tram depot. Deb promised to repay the loan in monthly instalments, but did not comply.

On August 31 this year, the bank reminded him about his dues, which had run up to over Rs 7.64 lakh. “He promised us to pay the money in instalments of Rs 50,000, but that, too, did not materialise,” said a bank officer.

On October 4, the bank sent him an ultimatum, saying that if the dues were not cleared with immediate effect, his property would be attached. Deb, however, did not get in touch with the bank officers, leaving them with no option but to exercise their rights, according to the recently-passed Ordinance enabling banks and other financial institutions to take possession of defaulting borrowers’ property.

On Tuesday, senior officers, including regional manager Ashok Bardhan, reached Behala with the local police. “The attack left us stunned. Luckily, no one was injured in the scuffle,” a bank employee said. The officers, however, managed to slap attachment notices on the building.

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