Two months ago, one Ravi Narayan Rautaray had 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 an assistant manager of the company and assigned four girls and a boy from Umarkote area to oversee the group's paperwork and online login. Ravi Narayan's job was to bring women groups together to form new groups for providing them 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 fees. In this regard, Ravi Narayan asked innocent women SHGs to submit copies of bank accounts, voter IDs and Aadhaar card for registration purpose. Sources said that about 2,500 women groups from Chandahandi, Raighar, Jharigam and Umarkote areas of Nabarangpur district have paid lakhs of rupees in the name of insurance and processing fees to get loan. The money was collected from about 2,500 groups.
However, on July 10 at 10 am, the staff members found the office locked and the office sign board missing. They tried to contact Ravi Narayan over phone but his mobile was switched off.
Later, they went to Ravi’s house near the office and found the door locked. Being asked, the house owner said Ravi had not been in his room since last evening. The news spread rapidly in the area. After seeing closure of office, the women who had paid money insisted on return of the money. Finally, the employees lodged a written complaint with the Umarkote police station for self-defence. Contacted, Umarkote PS IIC Naresh Pradhan said, “The complaint has been registered and police have taken steps to apprehend accused.”