Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 26 February 2024 4.07 PM IST

Unknown political emperors of Kerala's Cooperative Banks


Bhasurangan, president of Kandala Cooperative Bank in Thiruvananthapuram district, was at the helm of the bank for nearly thirty long years. Enforcement Directorate has now arrested him for committing fraud of Rs 101 crore during his tenure at the cooperative bank. Bhasurangan’s long reign at the top of Kandala Cooperative Bank even puts former Indian emperors to shame. Such a long run at the helm is quite unprecedented for a local leader of his status.

For months, headlines gleamed in news channels about the irregularities in the bank and the people behind it, including the employees. The crime branch also conducted an investigation but no significant progress was reported. Earlier, the Cooperative Department also found irregularities of Rs 101 crores from the bank. It has been confirmed in ED's investigation too. Based on this, the CPI has expelled Bhasurangan from the party and his son is also being investigated for his involvement in bank irregularities.

The Karuvannur Bank fraud shamed the ruling elites and the ED's repeated enquiry is far from settled. Amidst this happenings comes the Kandala bank controversy and surely enough, this fraud is going to hit headlines and will eclipse Karuvannur for a long time.

The cooperative banks have changed immensely from what it was during its halcyon days. Nowadays, these cooperative banks are managing crores of business and irregularities have turned into a new normal. The fact that a man has been in the chair of the president for thirty years in Kandala Bank tells the whole 'fraud' story in itself.

Since the cooperative movement has been completely politicized, it was local politicians who took the reins and started minting profits from these institutions. It is palpable even in the elections conducted for the cooperative sector, as all values ​​and ethics of the cooperative movement are openly flouted in the struggle to capture power by any means.

It is important to remember here the adage that “Continuous rule opens way to corruption and disorder.”

The people in key positions have an amazing knack for shrouding all such anomalies in cooperative banks for many years. They can give investment money to relatives, dependents and loved ones without any collateral. There is no problem in shelling out huge sums of money in the name of benami. All the cooperative banks that have collapsed have passed through similar testy waters. The poor, small traders and farmers of the country are accustomed to being close to cooperative banks for their erstwhile human-centric policies. People deposit money with a surety that the same can be withdrawn when needed.

The worst of all is the impunity and the dangerous resoluteness shown by such corrupt leaders. The political parties associated with the fraudsters are also ready to shield them no matter what, while some others weave plans to picture the arrest as a political hatchet job. The pretence that the cases are deliberately fabricated is a saving grace for those who have built their own empires using poor people’s hard-earned money.

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