Held for ‘loan default’: Some farmers’ families ‘repaid’ all money

Pabna farmers

Family members of at least two of the 12 farmers, who were arrested Friday on loan default charges in Pabna, claimed they had repaid the money on time.

They claimed the loans were settled a few years ago and they were not aware of the case before the arrests.

Meanwhile, a woman claimed that her father-in-law was arrested even though he did not take any loan.

Atiar Rahman, 50, a farmer of Varoimari village in Ishwardi upazila, is among the 12 who were arrested.

His daughter Tarifa Khatun said her father borrowed Tk 40,000 from a local branch of Bangladesh Samabaya Bank Limited in 2016.

"But we repaid the loan plus Tk 4,000 as interest a year later. But we didn't save any receipt of the transaction," she told The Daily Star yesterday.

"We couldn't have imagined that the bank would harass us with a case. We didn't know about the case before Friday when my father was arrested," she added.

Another arrestee, Rojob Ali, 40, a farmer from the same village, received a Tk 30,000 loan from the same bank in 2016.

"My husband repaid the loan plus Tk 3,767 as interest in 2017. We tried to show the receipt to the police but they didn't want to see it and arrested my husband like a criminal," said Rojob's wife Bulia Begum.

The Daily Star has a copy of the receipt.

Another farmer Mahatab Mandol, 45, of the same village, took a loan of Tk 40,000 in 2016.

"We repaid Tk 10,000 in 2021. But we could not pay the rest. That's why my husband was arrested," said Mahatab's wife Razia Begum.

"But my father-in-law, Goni Mandol, who never took a loan from the bank, was also arrested on the same charge. Someone might have taken loan falsifying documents in the name of my father-in-law," she claimed.

Talking to The Daily Star, local Union Parishad Chairman Abdul Mozid said at least five to six farmers were arrested despite having repaid their loans.

"The poor farmers live from hand to mouth. The case appears as a double blow for them. We could have solved the issue through negotiation if we were informed earlier," he said.

Contacted, Ishwardi Police Station Officer-in-Charge Arbinda Sarkar said, "The Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Pabna issued the arrest warrant against 37 farmers on loan default charges. We could arrest 12 of them and the rest of the farmers are on the run.

"We just acted as per the court order. Following arrest, we produced the farmers before the court that sent them to jail," the OC added.

Contacted, Kazi Jasim Uddin, manager of Bangladesh Samabaya Bank Ltd's Pabna branch, said he was not aware of the matter as he had recently joined.

"But I think the bank authorities have filed the case following proper procedure. The bank's legal section is dealing with the issue," he said.

Contacted, the bank's lawyer Abdul Mozid said each of the 37 farmers of Varoimari village under the banner of 'Varoimari Uttopara Vegetable Farmers' Cooperative Association Limited' took loans ranging from Tk 30,000 to 40,000 in 2016.

"It became increasingly difficult for them to repay the loan over time as the interest compounded as a result of their failure to return the borrowed funds. So, we filed the loan default case in 2021," he added.

"All the farmers were served with legal notices before filing of the case," the lawyer added.


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