Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 23 September 2023 3.27 AM IST

Recurring co-op scams


After the Karuvannur Co-operative Bank scam that left many investors' families in tears and left in the lurch, the government had taken several measures to prevent such scams. Even after that, there are incidents that prove that nothing short of scams similar to or even bigger than the one in Karuvannur are still ongoing. Shocking stories of fraud and forgery in Pulpally Cooperative Bank in Wayanad have come out. The bank's former president KK Abraham and secretary KT Ramadevi have been arrested by the police in connection with the incidents in which many people were cheated by forging fake documents and fraudulence. Many of the members of the governing body are accused in the case registered by the police.

In the investigation, the police found that the governing bodies have misappropriated the documents submitted by the society members for loans. The fraud in the bank came to light after the suicide of a farmer named Rajendran Nair, who had fallen victim to the nefarious actions of the administrators. A notice from the bank came in the name of Rajendran Nair, who took a loan of only seventy thousand rupees by pledging the property, showing that he has to repay the loan and interest amounting to thirty lakh rupees. The document submitted by Rajendran Nair was misused and the loan amount was changed to thirty lakhs, which was split among themselves by the governing bodies. In the same way, a large number of frauds have been committed by using fake documents in the name of many people. The extent of the fraud will be understood only after the investigation is completed. The initial conclusion is that the bank has suffered a loss of at least thirty crore rupees. The news about frauds in the bank came out five years ago. The Cooperative Department did not make much effort to intervene in time and stop the fraud. All the money was taken based on forged documents in the name of investors and loan applicants. There were people for this in the bank itself. The method followed was to take applications from those who needed loans, enter a large amount in it and get it passed by the governing body. After giving the requested loan amount to the borrower, the rest of the amount used to be split among the ones involved in the scam. Failure to conduct inspections and auditing on time was a boon for fraudsters. The frauds in the Karuvannur - Pulpally banks have defamed the exemplary cooperative movements in the state.

Not only money but also lives are lost due to scams. Rajendran Nair, a farmer, committed suicide in Pulpally because he could not bear the responsibility of the fake loan taken in his name. Unable to recover the money deposited in the Karuvannur Bank, some succumbed to illness and lost their lives. How disgusting is the shocking sight of co-operative banks, which are meant to be the common people's saviors, turning into their Grim Reaper? Proceedings are underway to recover 125 crores from the board of directors who defrauded Karuvannur Bank. Fraudsters and the politicians who support them should remember the reality that scams like this can undermine the credibility of cooperative banks.

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