THRISSUR: Porinchu, 67, a native of Thelappilly in Thrissur, and wife Baby, 60, deposited Rs 40 lakh in Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank some 20 years back.
“It was our lifetime’s saving deposited as a post-retirement fund which could be used for medical purposes. But when I had to undergo heart surgery, the bank didn’t return even a penny from it. To pay the hospital bill of Rs 4 lakh, I had to borrow money from friends and family. We don’t know when we will get it back,” says Porinchu.
They are among a large number of depositors who stare at bleak prospects of the Thrissur-based bank embroiled in a multi-crore loan fraud orchestrated allegedly by the CPM leaders who had helmed the bank over the years. The elderly couple has been visiting the bank’s headquarters at Karuvannur and Mapranam branch several times to get the money back.
Benny, a contractor whose Rs 25 lakh is stuck in the bank, said, “The construction work of my home has been halted halfway. When my brother-in-law underwent a backbone surgery after an accident, I contacted the bank for money but didn’t receive it. For the education needs of my son, I was in dire need of funds. But I didn’t get my money. We are putting our hope in the government and waiting patiently for the system to return the fund,” he said.
Asked if he would lodge a complaint, Benny said he didn’t want to move legally as the CPM local leaders are either his friends or known to him personally. Nisha Balakrishnan, 55, another depositor, shared her woes too. She had deposited her funds in the bank several years back. While she tried to withdraw her money for her son’s personal needs, she didn’t get it. “I even tried to form a forum of depositors to move against the bank authorities, but no one came forward,” she said.
Suresh M V, who blew the lid off the bank’s shady operations through an RTI query, pointed out that most of the depositors are afraid to come out in the open against CPM-led bank. “I have faced threats to my life from unknown persons because I raised my voice against the bank and CPM leadership,” he said. Suresh who presently works with BJP had formed ‘Janakeeya Prathirodha Samithi’ of Karuvannur bank depositors. Though the BJP had lodged a petition in the High Court seeking a CBI probe in the case, the state government opposed it.
BINDU SHOULD APOLOGISE TO FAMILY, SAYS SATHEESAN
Thrissur: Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan on Friday demanded that Higher Education Minister R Bindu should apologise to the family members of Philomina who died after failing to get the deposited fund from scam-hit Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank. Satheesan said the minister’s statement that the protest by the deceased woman’s family was ‘political’ is condemnable. “She should have avoided statements that insulted the family. The deceased woman is a victim of the failure of the system,” he said.