The recent suicide of five persons of a family, allegedly driven by loan sharks, has exposed the lowering of guard on the part of the police against such elements who were once effectively suppressed by initiatives such as ‘Operation Blade.’
Continuous raids against loan sharks lost its steam after a change of guard at the City Police’s helm. ‘Operation Blade’, an initiative of former City Police Commissioner P Vijayan, was launched in May last year to nab the illegal moneylenders in the city limits.
The predecessor of the recently launched ‘Operation Kuber’, ‘Operation Blade’ was active for eight months, becoming a virtual nightmare to illegal moneylenders. Raids were conducted in four phases and 2,090 cases were registered during this period. The secret operation was planned on the basis of numerous complaints filed against illegal moneylenders.
The raids were carried out in three levels. The first level was to trace out the location of the moneylenders. This was carried out by a special team from the District Special Branch and the Shadow Police.
The second-level operation was carried out by a team comprising a police officer (either a sub-inspector or Circle Inspector), two civil police officers, a woman civil police officer, a photographer and a civilian, as a witness. Each team was under the control of selected Assistant Commissioners.
“The women police constables were included in the team to control women who were present at the raid spot and the photographers were to cover the whole procedure,” said a senior police official. The third level was carried out by a select special squad.
During the raid, around Rs 19 lakh were seized in the form of currencies and the documents included cheques, promissory notes and others, worth Rs 10 crore. Accused including notorious criminals were charged under the Kerala Money Lending Act and Exorbitant Interest Act.
Later, the chain of raids hit a roadblock after a set of transfers happened at the official level.
Meanwhile, the same model was also launched as ‘Operation Kubera’ under the guidance of the then Rural SP A J Thomaskutty in rural areas.