THRISSUR: As the Crime Branch probe into the Rs 300-crore loan fraud in Karuvannur Cooperative Society Bank progresses, a CPM Porathissery local committee member has told TNIE that party district secretary M M Varghese knew of the mismanagement and fraud in 2019 itself. The local committee member, who did not want to be named fearing repercussions, said bank director board member Jose Chakrampully had submitted all documentary evidence regarding the fraud to Varghese that year.
The local committee member also revealed that former president of director board K K Divakaran’s claim that he came to know of the fraud only four months ago was a total lie. “It is his second term as the president of the director board. He had also served as a member of the director board earlier. When complaints regarding the unauthorised loans were raised years back, he was on the director board, but remained silent,” he added.
He also alleged that during the time of demonetisation, the bank helped a member convert Rs 3 crore black money into white. Bills of Rs 1,000 denomination were used for the purpose and the bank gave him Rs 1.5 crore in return for Rs 3 crore in notes declared not legal tender. Violating the norm, another member of the bank took a gold loan of Rs 10 lakh from the bank pledging gold biscuits. A later audit of the pledged biscuits revealed that they were not real gold.
“We expect that all such fraudulent transactions in the bank will come out in the Enforcement Directorate investigation,” he added. The local committee member who had earlier complained about the bank to the party leadership said former branch manager Biju Kareem, key accused in the case, had been managing the daily transactions in the bank and he had remained in the post for 15 years. “Though several complaints regarding unauthorised transactions in the bank were received and Biju and his accomplices were under suspicion, he continued to be in the post. This made it easier for the caucus to commit bigger frauds through unauthorised loans,” he said.