Higher Education Minister R. Bindu has come under fire for her comments justifying the Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank amid the outrage over the death of a woman, who was allegedly refused money for treatment from her deposit.
Addressing mediapersons at the Thrissur Press Club on Thursday, the Minister claimed that the bank had given money for the treatment of Philomina, 70, wife of Devassy of Mapranam, who died on Wednesday following infection in brain.
The Minister also criticised the protest carrying the body of the woman in front of the bank and said, “It was disrespectful to the body of the woman and the protest was politically motivated”.
“The Thrissur Medical College has facilities for advanced treatment. The death is sad. But the attempt to politicise it should be condemned. There is a political goal behind the protest carrying the body. It is not right to use death for political gain,” she said.
Ms. Bindu said she had intervened in the issue of Karuvannur bank even before and the government was taking all measures to protect the interest of depositors with the support of Kerala Bank.
“There was an initiative to form a consortium to protect the bank. But the Reserve Bank of India did not approve the effort as some people with vested interests sent letters to the RBI against it,” she alleged.
According to Mr. Devassy, they had a deposit of ₹28 lakh in the bank. He alleged that he had been approaching the bank for the past six months for money for her treatment.
“What the Minister says is not correct. The bank has not given money for my wife’s treatment. The bank gave some money earlier when my son had to undergo knee surgery.”
Devassy, who deposited his entire savings in the bank, works as an autorickshaw driver for a living.
The action council against the bank alleged that the Minister was trying to protect the bank authorities. The bank gave ₹2 lakh after the death of the woman. If they had given it earlier, the family could have taken her for expert treatment, it said.
Meanwhile, more depositors have come up with allegations against the bank. Joseph of Maparanam, who has a deposit of ₹13 lakh, says he was denied money by the bank for the treatment of his children.