ED suspects money laundering too in Karuvannur coop bank under probe for loan fraud

ED suspects money laundering too in Karuvannur coop bank under probe for loan fraud

Thrissur: Even as the Kerala Police Chief Anil Kant directed the Crime Branch to probe into the loan fraud amounting to crores of rupees in the CPM-controlled Karuvannur Cooperative Bank, fresh leads secured by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) pointed to money laundering angle too in the case.

The ED said money laundering worth crores of rupees had taken place as part of the fraud. The ED officials sought preliminary details of the case from the police. The bank documents have been seized by the Irinjalakuda police.

Earlier, considering the gravity and extent of the fraud the Thrissur Rural police chief had recommended to the SPC to hand over the probe to Crime Branch.

The Crime Branch, which is a wing of the State Police, was also brought into the scene anticipating a probe by the ED, a central agency. The police chief had issued the orders regarding handing over the probe from the local police to the Crime Branch on Wednesday.

Accused on the run

The Crime Branch found that all accused in the case were absconding. Consequently the relatives and suspected benamis of the accused have been put under police surveillance.

Earlier Irinjalakuda police had registered cases against six persons including the bank's former secretary and manager on a complaint pertaining to Rs 120 crore fraud. According to preliminary findings of the Cooperative department, the accused had committed a fraud which was three times bigger than the amount mentioned in the earlier complaint.

Cooperative Dept confirms fraud

Meanwhile, in a confidential report submitted to the state Cooperative Registrar, the Joint Registrar has confirmed about the massive fraud that took place in the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank. The report also recommended a detailed probe since the extent of fraud was much higher than the Rs 100 crore assessed initially.

The higher-ups in the Cooperative Department have declined to react on the matter.

As per initial estimates more than Rs 300 crore is involved in the scam perpetrated by the managing body of the bank. Loans worth crores of rupees were advanced by the bank to the scamsters, but the loans were taken in the name of members without their knowledge.

The loans were taken with the silent nod of CPM leaders, it is alleged.

While audit is carried out by the Joint Cooperative Registrar in all cooperative societies at the end of each financial year, the fact that the massive fraud in Karuvannur bank remained undetected for six years strengthens the allegations regarding involvement of people with high political influence. It was due to their intervention that the fraud remained out of the cooperative establishment's radar for such a long period.

The bank affairs were controlled by some leaders who are in the CPM's Thrissur district secretariat.

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