Cooperative department ignored reports on irregularities in Karuvannur bank: Panel 

Cooperative department ignored reports on irregularities in Karuvannur bank: Panel
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Shaju T K, one of the complainants, alleged that most of the officials who tried to cover up the irregularities were members of the Left-backed Kerala NGO Union. 

THRISSUR: Amid the Enforcement Directorate probe into the alleged money laundering at the Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank, it has emerged that the final report filed by a high-level committee had highlighted the cooperative department’s failure to identify the magnitude of financial irregularities at the bank. The report, filed in 2022 by the nine-member committee that was appointed by the government to look into the discrepancies in the bank, also said officials right from the joint registrar level tried to hush up the financial fraud despite several reports by the auditor.

As per the report, a copy of which is with TNIE, though the bank was mainly formed to help farmers by giving them agriculture loans, it granted just three per cent of the total loans under the category.

It said the assistant registrar (general), Mukundapuram, and joint registrar (general), Thrissur, failed to follow their superiors’ instructions like properly reporting irregularities and submitting an explanation when asked about the lapses. Though 16 officers allegedly responsible for the present condition of the bank were suspended, they were reinstated saying no evidence was found against them.

The report said the concurrent auditor had submitted special reports on the irregular financial transactions by the bank in 2014-15 and 2015-16. It is alleged that in 2018, then assistant registrar (general), Mukundapuram, submitted a report falsely claiming that the problems within the bank were partially resolved and the rest will be resolved without delay. This was allegedly done to prevent further probe. 

The report also said T R Sunilkumar, the bank’s former secretary, was appointed in violation of norms. Sunilkumar, who was the bank’s manager, was promoted to the secretary post in eight years.

Shaju T K, one of the complainants, alleged that most of the officials who tried to cover up the irregularities were members of the Left-backed Kerala NGO Union. 

“Despite the special committee’s report, all the suspended officers, except those who retired, were reinstated. While depositors are made to wait for their token numbers at the bank’s branches, the officials retired with full benefits,” said Shaju, expressing confidence that the retired officials won’t escape the ED probe.

Established on November 5, 1922, the Karuvannur bank has branches in Porathissery, Mapranam, Moorkkanad and Kuzhikattukonam, besides an extension counter at the civil station in the district. Over the years, the bank also managed three Neethi stores at Mapranam, Puthanthodu and Porathissery and as many supermarkets at Mapranam, Karuvannur and Moorkkanad. A fertiliser depot, dealership of Rubco products and a paper bag making unit by women were also among the bank’s assets.


CPM state secretary M V Govindan said the party stands with P R Aravindakshan. He said the party views his arrest as vendetta as he had revealed that he was beaten up and threatened by ED officials. “Now, it seems ED officials are on a witch hunt so that they can lay their hands on CPM. It is a deliberate attempt to destroy the cooperative sector in the state and the agency is being used as a tool to for this,” Govindan told reporters in Taliparamba. CPM has decided not to bow down to ED’s pressure tactics, he said.

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