The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Credit card kidnap slur

Mumbai, May 28: An 18-year-old boy who defaulted on a credit card payment was allegedly kidnapped and detained at the Pune branch of ICICI Bank for three hours before his father paid up.

The police complaint lodged by the boy’s father, Rajendra Purohit, says recovery agents representing the bank had called up the family and asked it to pay up the dues of Rs 4,800 after they defaulted on the payment by a week.

Later, four recovery agents came to the Purohits’ home on May 25 and allegedly took Rajendra’s 18-year-old son Rituraj, an engineering student of SSPMS College, to the bank and detained him.

The boy was released after a cheque for the full amount was delivered to the bank.

“After the due date for payment expired, the bank first telephoned us and told us to keep the money ready. When I told them I didn’t have the money, they began abusing us and sent a recovery agent,” Rajendra Purohit told reporters at Kothrud police station.

Rituraj said: “They wanted my mother to go with them to the bank. I volunteered instead. They detained me at the bank and tried to intimidate me. They wanted me to call my friends for help. I was released after my cousin from Mumbai gave them a cheque.”

The Purohits alleged that the local police had refused to register their complaint against the bank.

“We went to the Pune commissioner’s office, but there was no response,” Rajendra said. The Kothrud police station accepted the complaint after a Marathi daily, where Purohit worked before his retirement, published a report.

ICICI Bank officials said the accusation was false and had been made to defame the bank.

They claimed the Purohits, father and son, came to the bank to pay the dues and the boy was never detained.

Inspector Bhosale of Kothrud police station said investigations were progressing but refused to give details.

Mumbai has witnessed several instances of leading credit card companies using strong-arm tactics to make customers pay their dues.

A few years ago, an innovative Mumbai resident floated a recovery company that used eunuchs as recovery agents. The eunuchs would frighten the defaulting customers or create enough nuisance to embarrass them into paying up.

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