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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 02 August 2021 10.51 AM IST

Beware of co-operative bank looting

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The news of the massive scam at the Thrissur Karuvannur Co-operative Bank is a matter of concern to those who trust the co-operative movement. According to preliminary information, the co - operative bank lost Rs 120 crore in the pilferage carried out by the bank's board members and a few employees. Police have registered a case and launched an investigation. Six people have been accused and they include a former secretary, a former branch manager and a senior accountant. No arrests have been made so far. The Co-operation Department has also started proceedings on its own. It is learned that a planned scam has been going on in the Karuvannur Co-operative Bank, which is entering its 100th year.
Some financial irregularities in the bank also came to light. But there was no significant intervention from those who needed to take action. The scam began to unravel when sequestration notices were issued to borrowers who had mortgaged their properties. Notices were also issued to those who were in arrears. The fraudsters again borrowed heavily using the documents of the property pledged by the members. Most of the loans amount came to one person's account. Up to 46 such loans of Rs 50 lakh each have been found in his account. Members became suspicious when other bank investors approached the bank for money and they were given excuses.

There are many well-run co-operative banks in the state. Such scams that are going on in the co-operative sector are tarnishing their reputation. There is a need to ensure that transactions in co-operative banks are more transparent and free from irregularities. Auditing needs to take place in its fullest sense. Current auditing cannot be said to be flawless. With the full control of the co-operatives by politicians, the risk of irregularities and nepotism has increased.

It can be said that such scams here are small compared with the co-operative robberies in North India. Maharashtra, known as the capital of co-operative scams, is at the forefront of this. The recent Punjab-Maharashtra Co-operative Bank scam is worth tens of thousands of crores of rupees. Several other co-operative bank scams involving big politicians are being investigated and prosecuted. This points to the need for co-operative banks to impose stricter controls and monitoring systems. The Center has recently introduced a new department for the co-operative sector. Opposition-ruled states have strongly opposed it. Cooperative movements that are supposed to benefit the common man and the poor need strong precautionary measures to prevent them from becoming centers of corruption and money laundering. The deposits of the common people are not to be plundered by a miserable group of people.

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