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Money-lending: Is the State still protecting 'sahukar' Sananda?

Money-lending: Is the State still protecting 'sahukar' Sananda?

Author: Mahesh Mhatre
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: September 1, 2006

Introduction: A month after RR Patil promised action in the House, nothing has moved

At a time when chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is giving speeches on the root cause of farmer's suicide, his deputy and home minister R R Patil is sitting on the promise of action against Congress MLA Dilip Sananda's father facing charges of illegal money-lending.

"Sorry, I don't know the present status of the case," said Patil after this correspondent asked him about his statement on the floor of the State Assembly a month ago.

As first reported in The Indian Express, no less than chief minister Deshmukh came out in support of the Sanandas when the Buldhana police filed cases against the MLA and his family members, one of the biggest "sahukars" of the Vidarbha region.

The issue was raised on July 22 in the Assembly by Opposition parties who asked the home minister about the government's inaction in the matter of illegal moneylenders who were "exploiting farmers in the Vidarbha region."

In his reply, Patil denied allegations the government was trying to shield the Sanandas and added the state was moving court to vacate the anticipatory bail that the Khamgaon MLA's father had got in order to proceed in the cases against him.

But when Patil was asked about the government's plan of action, an awkward home minister didn't have much to say. "Ask Krishna Prakash," he said, referring to the superintendent of police who has been unceremoniously transferred from Buldhana to Amravati for having pursued the cases against the Sanandas.

Meanwhile, MLA Sananda - police records show over 40 cases are registered against his family for illegal money-lending, land-grabbing to kidnapping, manhandling to torture- has no reason to complain.

"R R Patil is helping me. He is a good man," he said from his residence at Khamgaon.

However, he continued to be critical of the state police, comparing it to that of Bihar. "They deliberately lodged complaints against me by forcing people to come forward (with complaints). They do what they can to trouble me," he said.

Asked about the home minister's assurance of action against his father in the Assembly, Sananda replied that the state now realises the cases against him are weak. "Even the government pleader accepted our argument and we got interim bails for all the four cases. Now I'm going to concentrate on the remaining 15 cases which are pending in the office of the Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Department, " he said confidently.

"Within a month I will get justice and then I will hold a big Press conference to prove my innocence," he added.

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