ED affidavit says prime accused in bank fraud was benami for politicians, police officials

Karuvannur Bank.
Karuvannur Bank. File photo: Manorama

Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has submitted an affidavit in the court, citing the statement of KA George, a key witness and middleman in the Karuvannur bank fraud case, alleging that the prime accused, P Satheesh Kumar, operated as a benami for political leaders, police officials, and trade association leaders.

Opposing the bail petition, the ED brought to the court’s attention the high-level connections of Satheesh Kumar, who is currently in judicial custody. The special court, established under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), is considering the bail petition.

George's statement accuses Satheesh Kumar of holding benami funds for various individuals, including CPM leader and former minister AC Moideen, Kerala Bank vice president MK Kannan, Congress District Committee secretary Rajendran Arangath, traders' association leader Binny Emmatty, retired Superintendent of Police KM Antony, and Deputy Superintendents of Police Famous Varghese and Venugopal.

According to the affidavit, Satheesh Kumar, who took the benami money from these persons at an interest rate of Rs 3 for Rs 100, in turn lent it to others at the rate of Rs 10 for Rs 100. George asserts that former Deputy Inspector General of Police S Surendran acted as an intermediary in some illegal financial transactions of Satheesh Kumar and mediated disputes on his behalf, thus earning a commission.

The investigating team submitted to the court a sealed cover containing confidential statements made to a magistrate by two other accused persons, corroborating George's statement. Legal advice is being sought on the possibility of designating these two as pre-bargainers. CPM State secretariat member MM Varghese has been summoned for questioning on November 24 based on these statements. The ED will also interrogate trade association leader Binny Emmatty.

The PMLA special court, which heard the detailed arguments, will reconsider the case on November 27. The ED plans to revise the list of accused and submit an additional charge sheet by including more individuals in addition to the four already in custody. In addition to Satheesh Kumar, CPM local leader and chairman of the standing committee of Wadakkanchery municipality, PR Aravindakshan; middleman PP Kiran; and former accountant CJ Jills are in judicial custody at present.

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