Kerala bank scam: Congress demands protection of investors interests

State Congress takes on government over Karuvannur Co-op Bank issue

Representatives images of Congress flag (photo: National Herald archives)
Representatives images of Congress flag (photo: National Herald archives)


Attacking the Left government over the syphoning of funds from Karuvannur Cooperative Bank, the Opposition Congress on Wednesday accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of not finding a solution to the problems of people who have invested their life's savings in the scam-hit financial institution.

The party alleged that the Left government was protecting the looters and those who shared the plundered money from Karuvannur bank.

The assurance given by the government that no investor in the scam-hit cooperative bank would lose their money was yet another bid to deceive them, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan said in a statement here.

A day after Cooperation Minister V N Vasavan said in Kochi that the depositors of Karuvannur bank would get their money back at the earliest, Satheesan pointed out that the government had assured those who had invested up to one lakh rupees that it would return their deposits, but was silent about those people who had invested lakhs of rupees that they received as retirement benefits and after selling their properties.

In the hard-hitting statement, Satheesan urged the Pinarayi Vijayan government to give back the money belonging to all the investors who had lost the savings of their lifetime.

He pointed out that what the state Cooperation Minister Vasavan said was that they would give back only deposits below Rs 50,000 to those who had invested up to one lakh rupees, but was silent about those who had deposited huge amounts.

"Yet, they are repeating that not even a single rupee of investors would be lost," the LoP said, and alleged that it was making a mockery of the public. "The chief minister and the cooperation minister are deceiving investors by giving them assurances that no invested money would be lost." Alleging that at least Rs 300 crore had been looted from Karuvannur bank, he further charged that a fraud to the tune of over Rs 500 crore had taken place in cooperative banks across Thrissur district.

Vasavan said on Tuesday that as per a package announced by the government, Rs 73 crore had already been given back to the investors. As soon as the irregularities came to the notice of the government, stringent action was taken, and 18 cases were registered as part of it, he had said.

A vigilance probe and a special investigation by a nine-member team were also launched, the minister added.

The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating the multi-crore Karuvannur bank scam, had last week arrested a local CPI(M) leader and Wadakkanchery Municipal Councillor P R Aravindakshan.

The agency also arrested a former employee of the bank C K Jills, who allegedly syphoned off Rs 5 crore in bank funds.

The ED had earlier arrested Kiran P P and Satheesh Kumar P in connection with the alleged issuance of 'benami' loans from the bank.

On September 11, CPI(M) leader and MLA A C Moideen was interrogated for over nine hours by the ED.

The investigation into the alleged fraud, beginning in 2010, in the Thrissur-based bank stems from 16 FIRs registered by the Kerala Police (crime branch) in Thrissur.

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