Aday after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that the state government had taken action against those involved in the Karuvannur bank scam case, the Congress-led UDF opposition on Thursday reiterated its allegation that he was protecting the culprits behind the fraud.
Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the assembly V D Satheesan alleged that the chief minister was defending and protecting those who looted over Rs 500 crore from cooperative banks in Thrissur.
Vijayan on Wednesday had said that if one bad grain was found in a bowl of rice, the entire bowl cannot be thrown away.
In response to this, Satheesan contended that the chief minister needs to realise that the entire bowl was full of bad grains.
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The LoP further contended that the stand taken by Vijayan amounts to discrediting the cooperative sector in the state and turning a blind eye to the suffering of the investors.
He said that even the opposition does not want the cooperative sector to be harmed and urged the government to clean it up by removing the bad elements.
Satheesan also termed the chief minister and ministers tour of Kerala constituencies and the Keraleeyam 2023 programme as the LDF’s election campaign at government expense.
He said that at a time when the state was reeling from a financial crisis and it was impacting people’s lives, such extravagance ought to have been avoided.
Therefore, the opposition cannot cooperate with such programmes that squander the common man’s tax money without looking for ways to address the financial predicament faced by the state, he said.
The chief minister on Wednesday, had said that the Keraleeyam 2023 programme was not an election campaign but an event to showcase the state’s achievements.
He had also said that the review meetings to be held in all districts were part of the government’s endeavour to let people know what has been done for them and receive feedback from the public on what is lacking.
So the opposition should also participate in that as the meetings would also be held in the constituencies held by them, the CM had said and added that everything should not be rejected by terming them as extravagance.
Satheesan on Wednesday, too had accused the chief minister and the ruling CPI(M) of protecting the culprits behind the bank scam.
The chief minister, on the other hand, had contended that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into the Karuvannur bank scam was a ”politically motivated witch hunt” aimed at discrediting the state’s cooperative sector which was its ”financial backbone”. A day after the ED arrested a local CPI(M) leader in the case, Vijayan had claimed that the agency probe was part of a concerted attack aimed at ‘destroying’ the cooperative sector of the state, especially in anticipation of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The ED on Tuesday arrested a local leader — Wadakkanchery Municipal Councillor P R Aravindakshan — of the party in connection with the bank fraud case.
The investigation into the alleged fraud, beginning in 2010, in the Thrissur-based bank stems from 16 FIRs registered by the Kerala Police (crime branch) in Thrissur.
The ED has said its probe has found that ”on the instructions of certain persons, who were district-level leaders and committee members of a certain political party and governed the bank, loans were disbursed by the bank manager through the agent in cash to non-member ‘benamis’, by mortgaging properties of poor members without their knowledge and (the money) laundered to the benefit of the accused”.
The ED had first carried out raids in this case in August last year at six locations, including a branch of the bank located in Irinjalakuda, Thrissur.