Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 29 May 2023 3.15 PM IST

Investment fraud; this investigation is not enough


While the outcry of Karuvannur Cooperative Bank fraud victims continues, similar frauds are taking place in many other cooperative banks in the state. Most recently in BSNL Engineers' Co-operative Society in Thiruvananthapuram, a case of organized looting of investors' money by the management committee arose. Information has already been received that this is also a large-scale fraud like in Karuvannur. But the complaint is that the investigation is not being handled in a proper manner even two months after the fraud information came out. Complaints are registered by the Vanchiyoor Police under the jurisdiction of this cooperative. But there will be progress in the investigation only if the case is handed over to the economic offenses wing of the crime branch. About 450 complaints have been received by the Vanchiyoor police. All of them have invested money in the BSNL Engineers Co-operative Society. Most of the complainants are worried that the society will collapse and lose money amid massive frauds. The investors are set to meet the chief minister to demand that an action council be formed and the probe be intensified.

In the preliminary investigation already conducted under the Registrar of the cooperative, it has been revealed that at least two hundred crores worth of fraud has taken place.
All the savings of the employees who took VRS and retired from service have been lost due to the organized fraud of the society operators. The president, secretary, and one of the directors of the group have been arrested by the police, but the employee, who is considered the main suspect, is still absconding. The details of the fraud can be known only after he is caught and interrogated. No diligence is in catching him though.

It's a wonder how an affair that has put the savings of hundreds of people in quandary can be handled so lightly. The investigation of all the frauds that take place in cooperative societies and banks. are handled in such a manner. Actions including confiscation of property of those behind the fraud have been prescribed in the Act. But the investors who know how to cheat the investors and take the money will transfer everything to benami names before the foreclosure process starts. A prolonged investigation will be of great help to these crooks.

In view of the increasing number of frauds in the cooperative sector, it may be considered to form a special investigation team comprising of experts to investigate them. A normal police investigation has many limitations. Investigating such cases requires special skills and experience. With the increasing number of frauds in cooperative societies across the state, a strong and effective investigation has become imperative. A special law was created to deal with such cases only because the incidents of private financial institutions misappropriating investors' deposits increased. Such a system will help to avoid multiple investigations in the same case. Delays can also be reduced. Steps should be taken to return the money to those who have lost money, without prolonging the case. The government should adopt a way to put the investment thieves behind bars at least a day faster.

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