Karuvannur bank scam: ED tightens noose, collects more evidence after 24-hour raids

Thrissur Cooperative Bank
The raid at Thrissur Cooperative Bank, where the Kerala Bank vice-president and CPM state committee member M K Kannan is the president. Photo: Manorama

Thrissur: The simultaneous raids conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on cooperative banks and places of people involved in the infamous Karuvannur bank scam in Kerala's Thrissur district concluded on Tuesday morning.

The ED sleuths took 24 hours to complete the raids at eight places, including cooperative banks in Ayyanthole and Thrissur, as part of its investigation into the Karuvannur bank case, in which politicians and officials allegedly laundered crores of rupees.

The raid at Thrissur Cooperative Bank, where the Kerala Bank vice-president and CPM state committee member M K Kannan is the president, and a jewellery at Kuriachira continued till late into the night. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were present during the raids.

It is learned that the inspections were conducted to collect more evidence to strengthen ED's case. The ED is bolstering its evidence as it has summoned former Kerala minister A C Moideen, who is facing allegations of benami (proxy) transactions in the Karuvannur bank case, to appear before the agency for interrogation.

Rs 500 cr black money?

According to sources, the Enforcement Directorate has collected evidence that points to several people who carried out black money transactions, totalling Rs 500 crore, through the accounts of Satheesh Kumar, who is a key accused in the case. Sources said Satheesh was only a proxy and money came to his accounts from different sources like amounts sent from abroad in order to launder them. Corrupt politicians and officials also parked money in his accounts, apart from funds collected through large-scale illegal transactions.

Sources stated that Satheesh deposited these amounts as cash in different accounts in other banks. He helped people to turn black money into white through the cooperative bank accounts and deposited it in others’ accounts.

Karuvannur Cooperative Bank
Congress activists protesting in front of Karuvannur Cooperative Bank. FILE PHOTO: Manorama

It is learned that the Enforcement Directorate has frozen Satheesh’s account in a cooperative bank in Kodungallur area.

8 locations

Deepak's house: The ED team raided the residence of Deepak Sathyapalan, who is a businessman in hospitality sector and a partner of P P Kiran, who is the second accused in the Karuvannur bank case. The raid at Kombara in Ernakulam district came after the ED found that Deepak and the prime accused in Karuvannur case, Satheesh, had laundered money through shell companies floated by their business partners. Deepak declined to comment on the allegations.

Thrissur Cooperative Bank: According to sources, the ED has come to the conclusion that Satheesh committed the fraud by “buying” the "defaulted" loans of those who were facing auction proceedings of their properties and taking bigger amounts as loans by pledging those documents. The investigating agency conducted the raid after summoning former MLA and bank president M K Kannan to the spot.

Ayyanthole Cooperative Bank: It has been found that a real estate dealer, Anil Kumar, had swindled Rs 18.50 crore from Ayyanthole Cooperative Bank. Sources said he had taken a loan by furnishing a fake address. Since he could not be traced at the address provided, the ED team assumes that he is on the run.

Anil's house: Indications are that important pieces of evidence have been gathered from Anil's residence at Vilakkumkal in Thrissur district. Sources said that there were large-scale transactions between Anil and Satheesh. He is believed to have swindled Rs 8.5 crore through two transactions from the Karuvannur Bank. The ED team has found that Anil’s business is on the verge of collapse.

ST Jewellery: The jewellery situated at Kuriachira in Thrissur is owned by Sunil Kumar of Konnakkaparambil house, Venginissery, a wholesale trader in gold jewellery and a relative of Anil. It is suspected that Rs 1 crore was transferred to the jewellery by Satheesh.

3 document writers’ offices: The ED raided the three offices to scrutinize the land transactions conducted by Satheesh at the Koonumplackal document writer’s office on Palace Road, Thrissur; JS Associates near the Viyyur bridge; and the document writer’s office opposite Geetha Talkies in the Thrissur suburb of Tirur.

Documents, including copies of the land deeds drafted for Satheesh, are being examined. The help of bank officials was also sought for this.

AC Moideen
(1) CRPF personnel wait outside AC Moideen's residence in Wadakkencherry during ED raid. (2) AC Moideen. Photo: Manorama

Moideen may seek anticipatory bail

Former minister in the previous Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala A C Moideen will not appear before the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday.

According to sources, he has been advised by his lawyers to seek anticipatory bail as they assume that he may be arrested by the ED after the questioning.

He had appeared for the first stage of questioning earlier. The ED had asked him to produce documents of investments and the agency had frozen some of them.

It is learned that his response to the questions about one of the investments was not satisfactory.

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