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ICICI bank's recovery agents drive man to suicide

Sep 19, 2007 10:39 PM IST India India

New Delhi: A man in Mumbai committed suicide allegedly because he couldn’t withstand pressure from recovery agents of a private bank. His family says the recovery agents repeatedly harassed and threatened him to repay a personal loan. His six-year old daughter was witness this all. Recovery agents working on behalf of banks use all kinds of methods to tackle with the defaulting clients. Only this time it seems to have gone all horribly wrong. The father of three girls, Prakash Sarvankar ended his life leaving behind a suicide note, which blames his step on these agents. Mumbai police says the 38-year-old was being repeatedly contacted by agents of ICICI bank, who asked him to repay a personal loan of Rs 50,000. Prakash had taken the loan in January this year but was unable to pay it back on time. His family says he had contracted jaundice and his business had suffered leading to the default. Sarvankar's 6-year-old daughter told the police she saw the recovery agents threatening her father and taking away his CD player on their last visit on September 15. “They threatened papa. Said will hit him,” says 6-yaer-old Prajakta Sarvankar, victim's daughter. Senior Inspector P Sonawane, MIDC Police Station said, ”In his suicide note, he said that they forced me to commit suicide. And they said you can kill yourself but we will still want the payment." On September 17, the day the agents that threatened to return Sarvankar killed himself. So is the bank responsible for Prakash Sarvankar's death, or were the recovery agents acting alone—that’s exactly what the police are investigating now. While denying that Choudhry worked for the bank, ICICI bank says, "At the outset, we would like to express our deep condolences on the untimely and unfortunate death of our customer, Mr Prakash Sarvankar." The bank adds, "as on date he is 145 days past due on his loan repayment," and also says "The agency and its executives are bound by a Code of Conduct which is in line with RBI guidelines. " While the Police have arrested four people in the case including Nishant Nagarney the owner of the recovery agency, the family has lost a father and a husband all for the want of Rs 50,000.