KOTTAYAM: NS Rajappan, who won the heart of the nation with his selfless and untiring efforts to protect the environment by removing plastic bottles from Vembanad backwaters in Kumarakom, is making news once again, but this time with a complaint against his sister Vilasini that the latter had swindled money from his bank account.
In a complaint submitted to Kottayam district police chief Shilpa Devaiah on Thursday, Rajappan alleged that Rs 5.08 lakh was withdrawn from his Federal Bank account in Kumarakom without his knowledge. As per the bank statement submitted along with the complaint, Rs 5 lakh was withdrawn from the account through a cheque on February 12, and Rs 8,000 from the State Bank of India ATM at Kaippuzha on April 17. The SP forwarded the complaint to the Kottayam DySP for a detailed investigation.
The police registered an FIR against Vilasini, her husband Kuttappan and their son Jayalal. “The investigation is on and we have sought documents from the bank and CCTV visuals to ascertain who withdrew the amounts,” said DySP M Anilkumar.
72-year-old Rajappan, who is paralysed below his knees, has been engaged in collecting plastic bottles floating on the Vembanadu backwaters in a rented country boat to find his livelihood. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Rajappan’s untiring efforts in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address in January, people from across the country extended support by sending small amounts of money to him.
In fact, he opened a bank account to receive the contributions which grew to a considerable amount soon. Following this, Rajappan also received a Taiwanese financial aid of Rs 7.3 lakh in May.
According to documents available, Rajappan had opened a joint account with Vilasini. Either of them could withdraw money from the account. The alleged swindle came to light when Rajappan collected a bank statement to complete the procedure.
“It was through this statement that Appappi (Rajappan) came to know about the withdrawal of money from his account. After discussing with our relatives, he lodged a complaint with the police,” said N P Satheesh, son of Rajappan’s brother Pappachan.
“He (Rajappan) was reluctant to complain initially, but decided to go ahead with the complaint to avoid such incidents in future,” Satheesh said.
Satheesh alleged that Rajappan was gifted with two mechanised country boats by two organisations and those boats are also under Vilasini’s custody.
Meanwhile, Vilasini refuted the allegations and told media persons that she withdrew the money to buy a piece of land to construct a house for Rajappan. However, she couldn’t complete the procedures due to the Covid-induced lockdown and restrictions.