Kerala

CPI(M) takes a severe view of KSFE raid

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has reportedly taken a serious view of the surprise raid by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) on Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) offices in the State.

With more than 33 lakh customers and 600 branches, KSFE had a direct bearing on the lives of people. The CPI(M) felt the attack on its trustworthiness was akin to undermining the people's faith in the government in the election year.

The inspections had caught the administration off guard. The examination had embarrassed the ruling front. The State's anti-corruption watchdog had acted as if it were at odds with the administration.

The agency appeared to have played into the Opposition's "fake narrative" about entrenched corruption in State-run entities, the CPI(M) felt.

The VACB's action had to some measure undermined the party's position that Central law enforcement agencies had attempted to unsettle the government politically by seeking to unleash predatory investigations into Life Mission, KIIFB, K-Fon and e-mobility projects.

Furthermore, the raid had added another complexity to CPI(M)'s political messaging as it struggled to outpace other high-octane scandals that have dogged the government since the gold smuggling case broke in July.

The CPI(M) believed that the VACB had, perhaps inadvertently, promoted the cause of private chit fund firms by targeting KSFE. The party wanted the government to examine the circumstance that necessitated the anti-corruption raid and whether credible intelligence justified the action.

The CPI(M) was equally upset that the agency had "leaked" the news of the raid to the media without reporting the findings to the government. The speculative media reports had grist to the rumour mills of private competitors who aspired to elbow KSFE aside for a bigger piece of the estimated ₹1 lakh crore financial pie. The party also noted that private chit firms were major advertisers who had considerable media influence.

A party insider said the VACB seemed to have lost sight of the fact that KSFE was a legacy institution that exerted an amount of social control over the recurring deposit-based advance loan business relied on by ordinary folk.

The KSFE's societal role had arguably tempered loan sharks, unscrupulous private chit firms and dealt a body blow to fly-by-night operators incrementally. The next central and State committee of the party would weigh the matter and issue a political statement, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:00:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cpim-takes-a-severe-view-of-ksfe-raid/article33205977.ece

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