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New Delhi: A 27-year-old pregnant woman in Hazaribag district was crushed to death under a tractor allegedly being driven by a recovery agent who was forcibly seizing the vehicle over non-payment of dues.
The incident took place on Thursday, September 15, at Bariyanath which is under the jurisdiction of the Ichak Police Station.
The victim, a daughter of farmer Mithilesh Mehta, was three months pregnant. Mehta is person with disabilities.
District superintendent of police Manoj Ratan Chothe said a case of murder has been registered against four people, including the recovery agent and manager of the private finance company.
A special investigation team headed by the deputy superintendent of police (HQ) Rajeev Kumar was formed to arrest those involved, the SP told reporters.
According to police, Mehta had received a message on his mobile phone on Thursday from Mahindra Finance Company asking him to pay Rs 1.3 lakh which was allegedly outstanding from a loan he had taken from the firm to buy the tractor.
The company had also threatened to take away the tractor, which was parked at a nearby petrol pump on National Highway 33, if the money was not paid.
The news agency ANI quoted a relative of the victim having said that Mahindra Finance Company officials came to their house as well, without informing them. Local police also told ANI that the officials did not inform the local police station either.
Mehta immediately rushed to the spot to save his tractor and found the recovery agent already driving it away, the SP said.
He ran after the moving tractor and told the recovery agent that he was willing to pay Rs 1.2 lakh immediately but the man insisted that he must clear the entire dues if he wanted possession of the tractor.
“As the recovery agent refused to listen to the man’s pleas and kept driving away the tractor, his pregnant daughter, who had reached the spot, ran after it and was crushed to death under its wheels,” the SP said.
A large number of villagers, mostly women, demonstrated in front of the Hazaribagh Collectorate with the body on Friday and demanded the immediate arrest of the manager and recovery agent of the finance company. They also demanded Rs 20 lakh compensation to the victim’s family. The agitation was lifted two hours after the police assured them that all accused will be arrested soon.
The managing director and chief executive officer of Mahindra group, Anish Shah in a statement on Friday said “We are deeply saddened and disturbed by the Hazaribagh incident … We stand with the family in this moment of grief.”
He said an investigation would take place on all aspects of the incident. The company would also undertake an examination of the practice of using third party collection agencies that has been in existence.
“We will extend all possible support to the authorities during the investigation into this tragic incident,” the statement added.