Karuvannur bank fraud: ED to file chargesheet today

ED officials at Karuvannur Bank. Photo: Manorama

Ernakulam: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) will submit the chargesheet in the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank scam on Wednesday. The chargesheet will be submitted to a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court in Kochi.

As per reports, the chargesheet is 10,000 pages and will name 50 people as accused in the case. Those who played a direct role in the scam, including employees, illegal borrowers, and directors of the bank will be named in the chargesheet. The names of political leaders involved in the scam will be revealed only in the next round of the chargesheet.

The chargesheet is being filed to prevent prime accused Satheesh Kumar and P P Kiran from getting statutory bail. They would be applicable for bail if the chargesheet is not submitted within two months of the arrest.

The CPM-controlled Karuvanannur Service Cooperative Bank in Thrissur sanctioned multiple loans to the same persons and loans without adequate mortgage and to ineligible members for a period of 10 years from 2011 to 2021. A clique of employees also used monthly deposit schemes (chit funds) to swindle the cooperative society's money. The bank's present secretary in-charge Sreekala E S estimated that 90 wilful defaulters own Rs 343 crore to the bank as on December 31, 2022.

How was the scam perpetrated?
The ED's original case hinged on a complaint filed by the secretary in-charge of the bank Sreekala E S with Irinjalakuda police on July 14, 2021. She accused a clique of employees of swindling around Rs 100 crore from the bank by giving more than one loan to the same person, re-mortgaging properties of borrowers without their consent or knowledge, and extending those loans to unrelated third parties. The loan amount was then siphoned out through bank transactions and in cash.

Who are the key players of the scam?
Bank secretary in-charge Sreekala, in her police complaint in July 2021, named the then secretary of the society Sunil Kumar T R, the bank's manager Biju M Kareem, senior accountant Jilse C K, society member and agent Kiran P P, Bijoy A K, who was the society's agent to distribute Rubco's furniture and mattresses in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, and the society's supermarket accountant Reji Anil.

In its investigation, the ED zeroed in on private financier Satheesh Kumar P (56); estate player and society member Kiran P P (33); Wadakkanchery municipal councillor Aravindakshan P R (56), a confidant of CPM state committee member A C Moideen; and bank's senior accountant Jilse C K (45). They were arrested and arraigned as Accused No. 1 to 4, respectively, in September.

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