MUMBAI: Farmers in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district are enraged after a branch manager and a peon of a government-owned bank allegedly demanded sexual favour from the wife of a farmer to grant crop loan. Though the police booked the duo under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Atrocities Act, no arrest has yet been made.
The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, a farmers’ association, has condemned the incident. Angry farmers are demanding immediate arrest of the two bank staff and strict action against them. Bank manager Rajesh Hivase had allegedly twice contacted — once through the peon — the farmer’s wife at Datala village in Malakapur tehsil.
The woman had recorded the telephonic conversation of the bank manager and produced it before the police as evidence. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan condemned the Manohar Fadnavis-led BJP government, saying the episode was a “shame” and a “blot” on a progressive state like Maharashtra.
The former chief minister asserted it needs to ensure smooth loan disbursal as farmers need loans for sowing season with the arrival of monsoon. “Farmers are not getting loan waiver or crop insurance and cannot even avail crop loans. The incident of a branch manager seeking sexual favours from a farmer’s wife in lieu of processing a loan is shocking and condemnable,” Chavan said in a statement.