Hyderabad: The 'call money' racket issue rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday leading to its adjournment and suspension of two YSR Congress MLAs for two days even as police picked up promoters of two private finance companies in Visakhapatnam in connection with the scam.
The house was adjourned for the day over the issue, pertaining to exploitative practices by private money lenders, many of them with political connections, after providing loan on call.
Speaker K Sivaprasad Rao suspended YSR Congress legislators B Sivaprasad Reddy and D Ramalingeswara Rao for two days for obstructing the cameras meant for showing the proceedings. The YSR Congress stalled the proceedings seeking a debate on the issue.
Names of people with political connections have cropped up in connection with the racket in Vijayawada and police have conducted searches across the state on private money lenders.
As the adjournment motion sought by YSR Congress was turned down, the Opposition members raised slogans and the Speaker adjourned the house twice.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu intervened saying he would make a statement on the issue tomorrow but the Opposition insisted on a debate immediately, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for the day.
In Visakhapatnam, police picked up promoters of two private finance companies and seized some cash and documents during raids at their offices here.
According to R Mallikarjuna Rao, Inspector of City Task Force, raids were conducted on Sri Venkata Sai Finance and Chandra Finance on allegations of operating the racket.
While, police seized Rs 1.95 lakh cash, 122 blank promissory notes, 22 blank cheques and 160 loan books from Chandra Finance, Rs 8,600 cash, 30 blank promissory notes, 55 empty promissory notes and ledger book were seized from the other finance company.
'Call money' refers to a mode of private lending where loan is made available instantly at borrower's doorstep but at exorbitant rates of interest, and the lender can demand repayment anytime over a call.
The state government has decided to order a judicial probe into the illegal private lending and alleged sexual exploitation of women borrowers in some cases.
So far, 80 call money operators have been arrested across the state, of whom 27 had links allegedly with YSR Congress, six with TDP and three with CPI; others had no political affiliation, according to Information Minister Palle Raghunadha Reddy.