Kerala

Coop. bank fraud rocks Assembly

An estimated ₹350 crore siphoned off from a CPI(M)-controlled cooperative bank at Karuvannur in Thrissur rocked the Assembly on Friday.

Congress member Shafi Parambil raised the ‘bank fraud’ through an adjournment motion. Mr. Shafi narrated how an agent of the Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank had canvassed the client of a nationalised bank by promising her a quick and hassle-free loan of ₹50 lakh.

The woman put up the title deed of her house as collateral for the loan. She neither got the credit nor the title deed. Instead, she received a revenue recovery notice from the bank a year later, threatening to attach her property if she defaulted on ‘her loan.’

Mr. Shafi said the deception by the CPI(M)-controlled bank was merely the tip of the iceberg.

Soon scores of people, mostly the bank account holders, received notice to repay loans they had never availed themselves of from the bank.

The victims of the elaborate bank fraud ‘hatched’ by CPI(M) members included manual labourers, autorickshaw drivers, headload workers and daily wage earners.

The CPI(M) leaders had siphoned off huge sums from the bank using fraudulent loan applications as a cover. They had exploited working class members of the bank to enrich themselves and their families. They chiefly used forged title deeds as security for loans. The fraudsters availed themselves of loans in the name of deceased and non-existent persons.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said several agencies had flagged the fraud in 2018. The CPI(M) itself had conducted an inquiry that revealed the depth of the deceit.

However, the previous Pinarayi Vijayan government ignored the cautionary reports. It covered up the crime. The government allowed the fraud to continue into 2021. Finally, the government was constrained to disband the cooperative society on Thursday after the embezzlement went viral on mainstream media

Cooperation Minister V.N. Vasavan said the bank fraud had no particular political colour. Similar fraud had occurred in cooperative banks controlled by the Opposition. Moreover, the government had followed due process and disbanded the bank. The police were hot on the trail of the suspects, he said.

Dissatisfied with the Minister’s reply, the UDF legislators walked out of the House.


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 6:22:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/coop-bank-fraud-rocks-assembly/article35491703.ece

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