This security guard does not own a house or land, but owes Rs 10.5 crore in debt!

Former Karuvannur Cooperative Bank governing body member Sugathan in front of his rented house. Photo: Manorama

Irinjalakkuda: He doesn't own a house, nor does he have any land to his name. Put up in a rented house, he earns a living as a security guard. This is the life of V K Sugathan (58), a former governing body member of the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank, who had to bear the brunt of the Rs 300-crore fraud.

Sugathan says the fraudsters and top leaders cheated him by placing the burden of the fraud on his head. Sugathan, who was served the recovery proceedings notice, has been asked to pay Rs 10.5 crore along with interest.

Sugathan, a native of Moorkanad, is staying with his wife and son in a rented house in Vallikkanjiram. Earlier, he resided on the puramboke land on the banks of the Karuvannur river. He was a CPM worker for a long time. When differences of opinion occurred with the local leadership, he jumped ship to the CPI.

In 2011, he joined the bank's governing body. He informed the party leadership about the dealings of the bank secretary from the third governing body meeting itself. However, he was directed to make compromises.

Sugathan swears that not a single loan above Rs 5 lakh has been passed from his domain. But he was arrested by the Crime Branch and kept in jail for 77 days. His wife Thankam says they had to take loans from private firms to raise the surety amount to secure bail.

To pay off this debt, they are shelling out Rs 9,000 a month. During his time in jail, his blood pressure and diabetes worsened and one leg became paralysed. He regained mobility only after months of treatment.

Sugathan received the recovery proceedings notice of Rs 10.5 crore as part of the order to recover Rs 125 crore from the members of the governing body. The officials recently reached his home for recovery for defaulting on this money. However, seeing Sugathan's condition, they postponed further action and returned.

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