Pregnant woman ‘run over and killed with tractor’ by loan recovery agents for £1,300 in India

Woman’s father, a farmer, was unable to pay loan installments due to the pandemic

Sravasti Dasgupta
Monday 19 September 2022 13:27 BST

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A pregnant woman in India’s Jharkhand state died after she was knocked down by a tractor that employees of a finance company were attempting to seize from her father.

The incident took place on Thursday when the woman, identified as 22-year-old and two-month pregnant Monika Kumari, tried to stop officials from taking the tractor, said police in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh city.

The officials were allegedly from the company Mahindra Finance, a company that belongs to the Mahindra conglomerate.

Ms Kumari’s father Mithilesh Kumar Mehta, a farmer, had taken a loan from the company in 2018 and was supposed to pay it back in 44 instalments of Rs 14,300 (about £157) each.

Speaking to The Quint, Mr Mehta said he had not been able to pay the installments to the company in the last six months due to the pandemic.

On Thursday, the purpoted employees of the finance company reached Mr Mehta’s home.

“The farmer [Mehta] could not pay the next six instalments, but the final settlement came to around Rs 1.2 lakh [Rs 120,000 or £1,300]. When the farmer went to settle the amount, the company demanded Rs 10,000 (£110) more,” a police official was quoted as saying to The Indian Express.

“So the farmer left without paying the amount… However, later, it was decided that the farmer would pay Rs 1.2 lakh by September 22. But the employees of the company went to his house to seize the tractor on September 15,” a police official was quoted as saying.

Ms Kumari was at her home while her father was away in the fields. She allegedly tried to stop them but they left with the tractor.

Mr Mehta said he and his daughter followed the agents on his bike and caught up with them near the neighbouring village of Bariath.

After he failed to reason with the employees, he said the men tried to intimidate him with fatal “consequences”.

“At one place, the farmer and his daughter confronted them and an argument broke out, after which the woman was mowed down twice by a vehicle and the accused ran away,” said the police officer.

Mr Mehta said the recovery agent reversed the vehicle and ran over his daughter again.

The woman was rushed to a hospital in state capital Ranchi, where doctors declared her dead.

“We have registered a murder FIR and we are in the process of arresting the accused,” said Hazaribagh police official Manoj Ratan Chothe.

In a statement on Twitter, Mahindra group’s chief executive Anish Shah said: “We are deeply saddened and disturbed by the Hazaribagh incident. A human tragedy has occurred. We will investigate this incident from all aspects and will also undertake an examination of the practice of using third-party collection agencies that have been in existence.”

“We will extend all possible support to the authorities during the investigation into this tragic incident, and above all, we stand with the family in this moment of grief,” Mr Shah said.

Anand Mahindra, the Mahindra conglomerate’s chairman, quote tweeted the statement.

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