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Agent kills self, kin close in

Malati Halder

Bolpur, May 14: A mother of three in Birbhum committed suicide by consuming pesticide last night after failing to repay the money she had collected from her relatives and neighbours as an agent of a funds-mobilising company that went bust last year.

Thirty-year-old Malati Halder’s husband Manindra, who too worked as an agent for the same Burdwan-based cash-collection company, said his wife’s relatives had been demanding their money back.

“My wife committed suicide unable to take the pressure from her family members and other depositors. Today I realise the mistake I committed by working for such a company. When my wife’s body was being taken to Bolpur sub-divisional hospital for post-mortem, I was forced to hold a meeting with her relatives and make a commitment that I would return within six months the Rs 1 lakh she had collected from them,” said Manindra, a resident of Birbhum’s Illambazar.

Sources said Class X dropout Manindra had joined the fund-raising company as a senior agent three years ago. Later, he convinced his wife to become an agent, too.

“The Illambazar branch of the company closed down last year (after the Saradha Group went bust). I had collected nearly Rs 13 lakh by then,” Manindra said.

The family members and other depositors began pressuring the couple after Manindra went to work as a mason in Odisha one-and-a-half months ago.

“I returned home before the Lok Sabha elections. Since then, my wife had been telling me about the pressure from the depositors. We could not find a way to refund such a huge amount. However, I did not imagine that she would commit suicide because of this,” Manindra said.

After Malati was declared dead at Bolpur sub-divisional hospital last night, Manindra’s in-laws came to his house from Durgapur and Dubrajpur and demand repayment to the tune of Rs 1 lakh.

“I was forced into a commitment to repay Rs 1 lakh within six months at the meeting. They told me that they did not want to hear any excuse,” Manindra said.

Manindra’s father Manmatha said: “We don’t know how we will repay the money within six months. I have a one-bigha plot. If I sell it, I will get Rs 1.5 lakh. But what will we do after that?”