Two months ago, a certain Ravi Narayan Rautaray opened a company called AU Small Finance by renting a room on Medical Road in Umarkote town of Nabarangpur district.
From April 31 to June 5, Ravi introduced himself as a deputy director of the company and assigned four girls and a boy from the Umarkote region to oversee the paperwork and online connection of the group. Ravi Narayan’s job was to bring groups of women together to form new groups to provide them with loans.
He took a deposit of Rs 840 for a loan of Rs 30,000 and Rs 940 for a loan of Rs 40,000 as insurance and processing costs. In this regard, Ravi Narayan asked the innocent women of SHG to submit copies of bank accounts, voter ID cards and Aadhaar card for registration purposes. Sources said about 2,500 women’s groups in Chandahandi, Raighar, Jharigam and Umarkote regions of Nabarangpur district paid thousands of rupees in the name of insurance and treatment fees to obtain a loan. Money was raised from around 2,500 groups.
However, on July 10 at 10 a.m., staff members found the office locked and the office notice board missing. They tried to contact Ravi Narayan by phone but his cell phone was turned off.
Later, they went to Ravi’s house near the office and found the door locked. When questioned, the owner of the house said Ravi had not been in his room since last night. The news spread quickly throughout the region. After seeing the office closed, the women who had paid the money insisted on returning the money. Finally, the employees lodged a written complaint with the Umarkote police station for self-defense. When contacted, Umarkote PS IIC Naresh Pradhan said: “The complaint has been registered and the police have taken steps to apprehend the accused.