Troubles mounted for the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala as another prominent party leader has now come under the scrutiny of the Enforcement Directorate which is probing the alleged financial fraud and money laundering at the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank. On Monday, the investigative agency carried out searches at nine different locations in Thrissur and Ernakulam. Notably, in Thrissur, the ED conducted raids at two cooperative banks—Ayyanthole Service Cooperative Bank and the Thrissur Service Cooperative Bank—both of which were controlled by the CPI(M).
The Thrissur Service Cooperative Bank is under the leadership of M. K. Kannan, a member of the CPI(M) state committee and a former MLA. Kannan, who holds the position of vice president at Kerala Bank, has been serving as the president of the Thrissur Service Cooperative Bank since its establishment in 2002.
The ED has raised suspicions regarding the involvement of P. Satish Kumar, who is believed to be a frontman for political leaders, in using the accounts within these cooperative banks for money laundering purposes. It is alleged that Kumar funnelled more than Rs 40 crore through the Ayyanthole bank alone. Kumar, who was also a “blade financier”, is suspected to have done illegal transactions worth Rs 500 crore. Though the ED started the investigation with Karuvannur Bank, currently around 10 cooperative banks are reportedly under the scanner of the agency for their suspected involvement in facilitating money laundering.
Karuvannur Cooperative Bank has been a CPI(M)-controlled bank for over 40 years. The types of fraud that allegedly happened at this bank involved loan fraud, benami transactions, signature faking and money laundering. In recent days, multiple former director board members of Karuvannur Bank have come out with the revelation that they were made scapegoats in the case to save the top CPI(M) leaders.
On Monday, the ED also conducted a raid at the residence of one Anil Kumar, who is believed to have close ties with CPI(M) leaders. According to investigators, Anil Kumar has been in hiding for the past eight years after being involved in a Rs 18.5 crore fraud at Karuvannur. The investigators suspect that Anil Kumar is getting help from CPI(M) leaders to remain concealed.
Simultaneously, a search was carried out at the residence of a businessman named Deepak, who is believed to have connections with Kiran, who is already in ED custody in this case. Deepak is alleged to have established nine shell companies to launder Rs5.5 crore.
Meanwhile, A.C. Moideen, a CPI(M) leader and MLA representing Kunnamkulam, is scheduled to appear before the ED on Tuesday. On September 11, Moideen had appeared before the investigators. But this time, he has reportedly been asked to provide additional documents. Notably, Jijor K.A., a former intermediary for Sathish Kumar and a significant witness in the case, has recently made allegations in the media that Moideen had intervened at Karuvannur Bank to facilitate Kumar's transactions.