Sunday, December 10, 2023

Kerala: ED files 1st charge sheet in Karuvannur cooperative bank money laundering case; names 55 accused

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Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday filed its first charge sheet against 55 accused entities as part of its money laundering probe linked to the Karuvannur Service cooperative bank of Kerala, official sources said. The prosecution complaint, filed under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), contains more than 10,000 pages including relied upon documents and other annexures appended by the federal probe agency. The 55 accused individuals and companies include beneficiaries of the alleged tainted funds, bank committee members and four arrested persons have been named in the charge sheet, the sources said.

The agency has also informed the court in the charge sheet that it has attached more than 120 assets worth about Rs 100 crore in this case till now.

It has not named CPI (M) MLA and former cabinet minister A C Moideen in this charge sheet. He was questioned by the ED earlier and it may choose to name him in a supplementary charge sheet that could be filed later.

The money laundering case stems from 16 FIRs registered by Kerala Police (crime branch) in Thrissur.

This case of alleged fraud, beginning in 2010, in the Thrissur-based CPI(M)-controlled bank has triggered a political row in the state. The ED has said its probe found that “on the instructions of certain persons, who were district-level leaders and committee members of 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 laundered to the benefit of the accused”. Bogus loans were sanctioned by the bank on the same property multiple times without the knowledge of members of society. Investigation has also revealed that benami loans were sanctioned to non members against inflated property valuations in the names of other members and such loan funds were siphoned off and laundered by the accused beneficiaries, the agency had said in a statement earlier.

Four people have been arrested by the ED in this case till now.

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