ICICI personal loan customer commits suicide after alleged harassment by recovery agents

Mumbai: Alleged constant harrasment by recovery agents appointed by ICICI bank led one of their personal loan customers to kill himself yesterday.  Prakash Sarvankar, a 38-year-old customer of ICICI bank committed suicide yesterday at his Andheri east residence, leaving a one-page note in Marathi saying he had taken this extreme step after receiving threats from loan recovery agents working for ICICI.

In his note, Sarvankar said that the recovery agents on contract with ICICI bank would visit him at his residence and abuse him in the presence of his wife and daughter. They had taken away his music system and speakers. Last week, the agents threatened Prakash with dire consequences if he didn't pay up. He was also forced to submit in writing that he would pay one installment on Monday. At 10:30 am on Monday morning, Prakash Sarvankar hanged himself with his wife's dupatta from the ceiling.

Zonal DCP M M Prasanna described this as a 'serious offence' and said a detailed probe would be conducted by his officers. Four men have been arrested on charges of abetment of suicide. Three of these are recovery agents while one is an ICICI employee. The four persons arrested are Nishant Nagrale (29), Hiren Vaidya (25), Kailash  Chaudhary and Tushar Pargavkar (25). Of these four, Kailash Chaudghary is an ICICI bank official. All four have been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 452, 306, 506 (II) and 34. The police is also expected to inquire with senior ICICI Bank officials.

Prakash Sarvankar had borrowed Rs.50,000 in January 2007 from ICICI bank, it is learnt. While Sarvankar had paid the installments initially, for the last four months he had not paid the installments as he was having a tough time financially.

Sarvankar had issued five cheques, all of which had bounced. It is not known whether he had issued these cheques post-dated at the time of taking the loan or later, when the installment was due. Initially the recovery agents would visit his home, create a scene, taunt him or abuse him and go away. Eventually they took away his music system. On September 13 and 15, the recovery agents of ICICI bank visited his house and threatened him with dire consequences. Sarvankar had paid one installment during the month and the men forced him to give in writing that he would pay one more installment on Monday and said they would come at 10:30 on Monday. Afraid of what lay in store for him, Prakash Sarvankar hanged himself on Monday morning.

Speaking to Parinda, a spokesperson for ICICI bank expressed condolences on the death of Prakash Sarvankar. The spokesperson also said that  Mr.Prakash Shankar Sarvankar had taken a 'small ticket personal loan' of Rs.50,000 on Jan 15, 2007 and the repayment was overdue for over four months and further said that ICICI Bank is extending full cooperation to the police investigating the case.

ALSO READ: ICICI Bank personal loan review in our product review section, including a list of earlier cases of customers of ICICI Bank being allegedly driven to commit suicide by recovery agents.