Karuvannur bank | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thrissur: The investigation under police, crime branch and other committees reported different figures in the amount that was looted from depositors of Karuvannur cooperative bank. It is learnt that there are discrepancies in the findings of the four investigations. Finally, the Enforcement Directorate also initiated a probe into the controversial bank scam which rocked Kerala.
Karuvannur cooperative bank scam is regarded as one of the most notorious scams in Kerala’s cooperative sector. On July 14, 2020, Irinjalakuda police registered the first case against the bank. The police found that the bank swindled Rs 300 crore by forging papers and flouting norms. Later, the police handed over the probe into the case to Crime Branch. On August 13, 2022 Crime Branch submitted an interim report before the High Court. As per the report of the Crime Branch, financial irregularities of Rs 117 cr were found in the bank.
Meanwhile, a 9-member expert committee of the cooperative sector initiated an inquiry and reported financial irregularities of Rs 226.78 cr. This report was submitted on August 9, 2021. Interestingly, a team appointed by the department of cooperation reported a scam worth Rs 104 cr. But the department managed to hide this report.
When an RTI activist sought a copy of this report, the department of cooperation refused to issue claiming they handed over the report to Crime Branch. But the Crime Branch which obtained this report informed the court that financial irregularities worth Rs 117 cr were found in the bank.
The minister for cooperation officially informed that a scam worth Rs 104 cr was identified in the Karuvannur bank. The differences in the looted money will help the accused escape from the charges, opined legal experts.
Till date, Crime Branch registered 17 cases against the bank over the loan scam. Among the accused 11 are administrative members of the bank ruled by CPM. Six others, including employees, mediators and commission agents are also booked in the case. It is learnt that all the accused are CPM loyalists.
The case relates to Rs 100 crore scam unearthed after many people started to receive recovery notice. It is revealed that the bank sanctioned new loan after pledging the documents of the borrowers without their consent.