Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, speaking about the Multi Crore (CPM-led) Karuvannur Cooperative Bank Scam, has stated that people would not lose their money. The same promise has been echoed by CPM leader and Cooperative Minister V.N. Vasavan. He has convened two different meetings of various sections of the cooperative movement.
One method GoK has found out is to pool money from Kerala Bank, the institution GoK floated a couple of years back as an apex body of 1600 plus cooperative banks in the state. However, Kerala Bank has not agreed since there is no guarantee from GoK; so are the other cooperative banks. There is dissatisfaction among CPM ranks with the stand of the Kerala Bank, which it claims to be due to the strict rule of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Party leadership has reportedly asked Kerala Bank to take positive steps. GoK is reported to have decided to form Deposit Guarantee Scheme to protect the deposits. Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for this. GoK envisages to avail fund from this and provide aid to Karuvanur Bank. It is not clear whether government is going to depend on Cooperative Protection Fund under Kerala Cooperative Deposit Guarantee Fund Board.
The latest reports say that National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has stopped Kerala Bank from disbursing money to bail out Karuvannur Cooperative Bank. NABARD conveyed this message via an urgent fax message sent on September 30, 2023. The message says that it is against the Credit Policy of RBI since it does not permit to finance cooperative banks which are in trouble due to fraudulent management. Kerala Bank President Gopi Kottamurickal and Vice President MK Kannan reportedly showed the NABARD message to CPM state secretary MV Govindan and made it clear that they would not be able to divert the funds.
Meanwhile, media carried a shocking piece of news: PP Kiran, second accused in the Karuvannur multi crore cooperative bank scam carried Rs 11 crore, packed in a gunny bag, to the first accused Velapaya Satisan. it was operated on March 31, 2017, apparently, a ‘holiday’ for the customers, being the annual closing day for banking sector. ED has reportedly unearthed this. Bank staff worked even in the night for accounts closing.
Money transactions are not permitted on such occasions. But, here, according to reports, twenty two transactions were carried out on March 31; Rs 50 lakh per transaction are reported to have deposited in Kiran’s account the same day. And, Rs 11 crore were withdrawn from the bank the same day. It is also reported that Kiran was very much in the bank despite not an employee there. Accountant CK Jils and Manager Biju Karim reportedly played active roles in taking Rs 50 lakhs each from the bank in twenty two fake names and deposited it in Kiran’s account. Then the entire amount was withdrawn and taken to Velapaya Satisan in a gunny bag. ED is reported to have gathered information in this regard.
NABARD’s ‘NO’ to the Kerala Bank’s attempt to part with its funds to save Karuvannur Cooperative Bank is a grave set back to CPM and GoK led by Pinarayi Vijayan. Last week, Kerala Bank Vice President MK Kannan had met CM in Thrissur to discuss it. (The same Kannan, the CPM leader, who undergoes ED interrogation in connection with Kanayannur scam. ED had alleged that he was not cooperating during the interrogation). The meeting led to the serious deliberations to extend a bail out of Rs 100 crore from Kerala Bank.
Suresh Gopi, Malayalam matinee idol, BJP leader and former MP (RS), carried out a 18 kilometre march from Karuvannur to Thrichur city, on October 2, demanding justice to the investors who lost money in the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank.
In the meantime, a new development has taken place in the scam surrounding (CPI-controlled) Kandala Cooperative Bank in Thiruvananthapuram district. Local BJP leader Thoongampara Balakrishnan has complained to the police that Bhasurangan, the CPI leader and former bank president and his son tried to kill him by hitting him by their speeding car as a revenge for raising the allegations against him (Bhasurangan). He told the media that he escaped by running away and hiding behind a tree. Media reports suggest that police have registered a case in this regard.