Kochi, Sep 21 (IANS): Even as the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala is going through tough times ever since the ED began probing the functioning of a few cooperative banks managed by it, a state Minister has said that this was because of the Centre’s attitude to the success of the cooperative movement in the state.
State Minister for Local Self Government MB Rajesh said the cooperative movement was doing well and the Centre was trying to unsettle it. He added that the country had seen even bigger scams in commercial banks.
The CPI(M) has been jittery ever since the ED began probing allegations of a massive scam in the Thrissur-Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank.
A loan fraud understood to be in excess of Rs 500 crore has allegedly been detected in the bank.
The party got a rude jolt when top CPI(M) legislator and former Minister AC Moideen’s house was raided by the ED and he was asked to appear before the central agency.
After ducking the first notice he appeared before the ED on September 11 and was asked to appear again, but did not comply with the ED’s directive. On Tuesday the ED raided two other cooperative banks in Thrissur.
State Minister for Cooperation and Registration VN Vasavan pointed out that the cooperative banks in the state have a 40 per cent share in the banking business with a deposit base of over Rs 2.5 lakh crore. They have extended loans to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore and the Centre is using the ED to torment this sector, he said.
On Thursday things took a turn for the worse when news surfaced that PR Aravindakshan, a local body member attached to the CPI(M) was allegedly given third degree treatment by the ED when he was called for questioning.
“I was put to duress when they questioned me,” said Aravindakshan. A police team went to the ED’s office on Wednesday based on Aravindakshan’s complaint. However, the ED officials were unfazed by this and said they had been asked to go forward with the probe by their seniors as the entire probe and questioning is being captured on camera and there are 24 cameras in their office.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom has settled over CPI(M) cadres after it surfaced that the leadership in Thrissur was seized of the scam and one of their party committee probe reports on the functioning of these banks is in the possession of the ED.
Now, all eyes are on the ED as they are all set to serve a third notice to Moideen after he failed to turn up on their second notice.