Thiruvananthapuram: The arrest of a CPM councillor in the Karuvannur scam has set off alarm bells in the party leadership in Kerala as it fears some of its top leaders would face similar action from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), with the investigations into the Rs 300 crore loan fraud making swift progress.
In the first political arrest made in the case, the economic intelligence agency on Tuesday apprehended P R Aravindakshan, a close associate of the CPM State Committee member and former Minister A C Moideen. Another prominent leader M K Kannan, who is the President of the Thrissur Service Co-operative Bank where the central agency conducted raids the other day, is also under the ED scanner.
Both Moideen and Kannan are prominent leaders of the CPM in the cooperative sector. In fact, one reason why the party inducted the latter, in its State Committee following the merger of CMP (Communist Marxist Party) in 2019, was his recognition as an efficient cooperative sector functionary.
The CPM has taken a collective decision to face the ED probe and proceedings into the alleged laundering of black money through party-ruled cooperative banks by terming them as “politically motivated”. Also, Aravindakshan, who initially cooperated with the ED probe, suddenly took a U-turn and lodged a police complaint against the central agency, with the silent nod of the party.
The Left party approaches the ED probe into the Karuvannur scam as a continuation of the moves by the central probe agencies against the first Pinarayi government in the gold smuggling case. While the gold smuggling case had no direct effect on the people, many investors, including party workers, lost the savings of a lifetime in Karuvannur. The party was having a hard time explaining the same and regaining their loyalty. It was then that the reports of prominent leaders' involvement emerged, pushing it on the defensive.
A section of the party even views this as a repercussion of its leaders maintaining a close relationship with many affluent personalities. CPM was a party which had strongly opposed the 2016 currency ban. What is contradictory is that a major part of the money laundering activities in connection with the Karuvannur scam were carried out at that time, as per the findings.
Here, it faces the question of whether the party members were colluding with the money laundering mafia while the party was waging a vehement protest against the Centre’s demonetization move.