September 2, 2019 07:37 AM NPT
Shyam Krishna Kalawar
SARLAHI, Sept 2: Police on Sunday arrested Shyam Krishna Kalawar on the charge of defrauding hundreds of poor people in the district of Sarlahi by forging loan documents.
Superintendent of Police (SP), Gopal Chandra Bhattarai, chief of Sarlahi District Police Office, informed Republica that Kalawar was arrested from his Malangawa-based house after the media reported that he was involved in displacing hundreds of poor people by charging exorbitant interests on loans and abusing women.
“We took him under control at 7:30 pm today [Sunday],” confirmed SP Bhattarai.
Kalawar has been accused of causing displacement of about 300 poor people of Sarlahi by forging loan documents that included changing figures and terms, charging excessive interests and sexually abusing women when they visited him to pay the interest.
Frustrated by the exploitations they experienced, the loan victims who protested locally in the beginning have now focused on Kathmandu-centric protests seeking justice.
Kalawar, originally a local of Pipariya of Kabilasi Municipality, Sarlahi, now lives in Malangawa. Loan victims say Kalawar now produces forged loan documents and demands excessive interests.
After passing SLC from the Lalitpur-based St Xavier’s School, Kalawar obtained a master’s degree in economics from the Tribhuvan University. Shortly after completing his master’s degree, he briefly worked as the head teacher of Bal Govinda Higher Secondary School, the school named after his grandfather. Locals accuse him of dissolving the school after teaching there for two years.
“He threw all documents produced for upgrading the school as a higher secondary school into a pond. Afterward, the school was downgraded to a lower secondary school,” said Radhakanta Jha, a local of Pipariya adding, “Locals were successful in upgrading it to secondary school after the restoration of democracy in 1990.”
Locals believe Kalawar downgraded the school thinking that the villagers would be well-informed if they got the opportunity to complete their secondary level education.
He used to provide money to poor villagers and charge exorbitantly high interests even when he was working as a school teacher. He expanded his ‘loan business’ further after quitting his school job. Informed locals say he had even sold his farmland to provide loans to poor villagers and exploit them by producing fake loan documents.
Kalawar was “like a bank” in his locality. This led many illiterate and poor locals to accept any conditions to get loan from him to settle their family problems such as marriage, death rituals and other social matters.
Raj Kumar Mahato, the then engineer of Malangawa Municipality, had thrashed him after the latter was found registering the former’s land despite repaying the loan.
Locals said Kalawar produces fake loan documents bearing their thumb prints, so the borrowers always lose the court case and face jail. Kalawar, who enjoys “protection from local politicians” in the district, has also been accused of sexually abusing women.
His distant brother, Rameshwar Sah, was a minister during the Panchayat era. Kalawar was a sympathizer of Madhes-based parties after the restoration of democracy. He, however, has not officially joined any political party.
Although word had spread that Kalawar recently joined the ruling Nepal Communist Party, Rewati Panta, district chief of the ruling party, dismissed the idea as “baseless”.
Chief District Officer Man Bahadur GC said Kalawar has been winning most court cases since he was able to produce documents with the thumb prints of the borrowers. “So far, we have not received any complaint against him. But he had filed cases against 299 people on the charge of not repaying borrowed money,” said CDO GC adding, “Most of the borrowers have already been sent to jail.”