Key accused arrested in BSNL Engineers Cooperative Society scam in Kerala

The police had registered a case of criminal breach of trust and cheating against the president, secretary, and trust members of the society.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

T’PURAM/KOLLAM: The crime branch on Wednesday arrested the former president of the BSNL Engineers Cooperative Society over fund misappropriation to the tune of crores. The arrested is A R Gopinathan Nair, who is the key accused in the case. He was taken into custody from his relative’s house in Kottarakkara where he was hiding. Nair was absconding since the Vanchiyoor police registered a case based on a complaint filed by depositors. He was tracked down using the mobile phone tower location. 

The police had registered a case of criminal breach of trust and cheating against the president, secretary, and trust members of the society after the depositors alleged that they had siphoned off around Rs 200 crore from about 2,000 account holders. Later, the crime branch took over the probe taking into consideration the gravity of the crime. Last month, the Vanchiyoor police arrested K V Pradeep Kumar, who was the former secretary of the society.

The anomalies were found when depositors attempted to withdraw their funds. A Rs 200-crore scam was revealed during the cooperative department’s investigation, and the cooperative registrar sought an investigation by the city police commissioner. They took loans in the name of depositors, according to the crime branch, by falsifying documents and using forged signatures. There were also inconsistencies in the overall deposits received. 

Nearly 500 people who deposited money at the society’s branch at Uppalam Road at Statue in Thiruvananthapuram have lodged complaints with the police. Most of the depositors were retired employees of the BSNL who parked their retirement benefits in the society to get the best interest rate. On March 1, a court in Thiruvananthapuram rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by the accused in the case. 

Thiruvananthapuram Additional District and Sessions Court VI Judge K Vishnu accepted the government’s argument that the extent of the crime can be ascertained only through custodial interrogation of the society’s office-bearers. The anticipatory bail pleas were filed by the society governing body members K V Prasad Raj from Kumarapuram, Manoj Krishna from Medical College, Anil Kumar from Pathanamthitta, and Minimol from Sreekaryam.

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