The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Weight of EMI kills woman

Calcutta, Sept. 1: The wife of a debt-ridden businessman killed herself today allegedly after being humiliated and threatened by loan recovery agents at her home.

Shukla Dasgupta, 42, hanged herself from the ceiling of the house in Kasba’s Sarat Ghosh Garden Road where she lived with husband Sajal and 15-year-old daughter Diya.

Sajal, who owns a shop in Gariahat market where saris are block-printed, had taken Rs 20 lakh in loans from banks and financial institutions to revive his ailing business.

But the returns didn’t come and Sajal failed to stick to the repayment schedule. After his equated monthly instalment (EMI) cheques bounced around six months ago, the family’s encounters with recovery agents began.

“On Wednesday, some recovery agents went to Sajal’s shop and threatened him. Then they went to his home and told Shukla to persuade her husband to pay up or face the consequences. She got scared,” said Anirban Guha Thakurata, a lawyer representing the Dasgupta family.

“Sajal had borrowed money from the State Bank of India, Industrial Development Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra and GE Money. But we think Shukla took her life not because of the debt but because of ill-treatment by the recovery agents.”

As Sajal spent the day shuttling between police station and morgue, Diya, a Class VIII student, needed sedatives as she struggled to cope with the tragedy.

Guha Thakurata said the family would move court against the banks and the recovery agents for abetting suicide. “Sajal is not in any condition to describe what happened on Wednesday. So, we don’t know much about the recovery agents who misbehaved with Shukla. We’ll start the proceedings once we have all the details,” the lawyer said.

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