Tirunelveli collector Sandeep Nanduri hits back at cartoonist G Bala, allegations of delay leading to labourer's death
Tirunelveli district collector Sandeep Nanduri has taken to Facebook to react to the flood of criticism that has come his way after a family of four set themselves ablaze outside his office last week
Tirunelveli district collector Sandeep Nanduri, who was criticised by cartoonist G Bala, for failing to save a labourer's family facing harassment from loan sharks from committing suicide has taken to Facebook to react to the flood of criticism that has come his way.
Nanduri said there was "no delay or inaction" on his part, and that his doors are always open for petitioners/complainants. He called out the "false accusations and baseless allegations" leveled against him, and insisted his conscience is clear.
In his post, the district collector also spoke about the police complaint that he lodged against Bala who had lampooned the district collectorate over the incident, saying he recognises the right to criticise, but there are "limits to creativity".
"There is a limit for creativity and freedom of expression. One can't levy baseless allegations of corruption and publish defamatory and obscene cartoons in the name of freedom," he wrote.
A labourer, his wife and their two children had set themselves ablaze outside the collectorate office last week. They were admitted to a hospital where they later succumbed to severe burn injuries.
Nanduri said that the collectorate office receives over 700 petitions every week, and they are all forwarded to the concerned departments. He also shared a post by the 'Collector Tirunelveli' Facebook account, where they have detailed the procedure to be followed every time a complaint or a petition is received. This procedure, he said, was followed even in the recent case.
The labourer, Isaki Muthu, claimed he was being harassed by a moneylender who wanted more money over the principal and interest on a loan, Muthu's brother told reporters.
According to the police, Muthu borrowed around Rs 1.40 lakh from a loan shark at a heavy rate of interest. Despite paying back Rs 2 lakh, the moneylender was pressing Muthu for more and threatened him. Muthu had earlier petitioned the police and district collector to save his family.
However, Nanduri said a lot of facts were misrepresented in the case. "The victims borrowed from more than 10 persons in that village and were in huge debt. This money was used to buy land and houses on a lease. They were not only borrowing money but also lending money to various persons in that village," he claimed.
"Why did they commit suicide? Could be due to mounting debt and pressure to repay or was it a threat that misfired? Or someone misguided them that such a threat to commit suicide will help in clearing their debts? Is it due to some other reasons? The police has to investigate and find out what exactly happened. The investigation is on and hopefully the truth will be out soon," he said, adding that blaming the district administration for inaction is "wrong".
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