Loan sharks operate with impunity in our communities

An Indian expatriate, who asked to be identified as Ranjan, learnt the hard way never to borrow money, even from friends. The 39-year-old, an operations manager at an oil company in Dubai, was jailed for a month last August after he borrowed Dh50,000 from a friend to pay off a bank loan.

He needed the money because he had defaulted on the loan and the bank had complained to the police.

“I took money from him because he was my friend,” Ranjan said. “He wasn’t really a money lender. But he filed a case against me saying I had borrowed Dh150,000. He started harassing my wife.”

This story appeared in The National, and highlights the plight of many Indians who resort to taking loans at exorbitant rates from money lender-friends who operate in almost all communities. These loan sharks are not necessarily businessmen but also could be professionals with surplus income trying to make an ‘extra’ buck.

There is no legal way to curb this menace except through community pressure and social ostracism.

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