KOTTAYAM: The way women of Nedumkandam and Karunapuram joined Haritha Finance, established by Rajkumar, shows their level of gullibility.
There are many incidents of financial embezzlement involving people of high ranges and low ranges of Idukki district, but none seems to have learned any lessons.
The goat-Mangium-teak fraud in the late 1990s was notorious as many lost huge amounts of money, believing it would increase three to four-fold.
Some promised to invest their money in goat farms and others in high-yielding trees. Those who committed the fraud even identified some places and took the investors there.
However, the net result was that they went away with many lakhs of rupees. A financial fraud happened at Thopramkudy near Kattappana in the 1980s where the promoters embezzled investments of mostly labourers.
More than 3,500 women belonging to the Nedumkandam region engaged the finance company without checking whereabouts or capacity to repay in multiples.
Rajkumar promised that if they deposit Rs 1,000, they will get Rs 1 lakh as a loan. If they form self-help groups, they will get returns accordingly.
Sources said even families of seven to eight members fell into the trap as Haritha promised the loan in two months and some even got post-dated cheques that bounced.
Its office was at Thookkupalam, 8 km from Nedumkandam. Two women employees managed counters for a monthly pay of Rs 15,000 while several women were on fieldwork.
“They convinced the local public that they were giving alms. The exact number of people who had given money is not known,” said Senapathy Venu, Idukki DCC general secretary....