Karuvannur Co-op Bank Fraud Case: ED provisionally attaches more Assets to total ₹87.75 Cr in Attachments

Karuvannur Co-op Bank Fraud Case-ED provisionally - Assets to total - Attachments-TAXSCAN

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached assets valued at Rs. 57.75 Crore owned by various individuals under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. This action is part of an ongoing investigation into the fraud case involving Karuvannur Service Co-operative Bank. The seized assets encompass 117 immovable properties, including land and buildings located in Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

Additionally, movable assets such as 11 vehicles, fixed deposits, and credit balances in 92 bank accounts have also been confiscated. The total worth of assets attached in connection to this case is Rs. 87.75 Crore.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) commenced an inquiry based on an FIR filed by the Kerala Police under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Kerala Police (Crime Branch) has lodged over 16 FIRs in Thrissur District during 2021 concerning fraudulent activities at the Karuvannur Service Co-Operative Bank.

The ED’s investigation unveiled that loans were unlawfully approved and disbursed to these individuals and their proxies by the Karuvannur Service Co-Operative Bank Ltd in cash, lacking adequate collaterals. This was part of a systematic conspiracy orchestrated by the Bank’s Secretary and Committee members, in collusion with the former Bank Manager.

The ongoing ED investigation has exposed instances where spurious loans were repeatedly approved using the same property without the knowledge of Society members. It was also revealed that benami loans were granted to non-members, inflating property valuations under the names of other members.

The funds from these loans were embezzled and cleaned by the implicated beneficiaries. The activities of the Karuvannur Service Co-Operative Bank had drawn the attention of the Registrar of Co-Operative Societies in Thiruvananthapuram. The audit by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies unveiled fund diversion exceeding Rs. 150 Crores through such means.

On earlier dates: 10/08/2023, 22/08/2023, and 18/09/2023, the ED conducted searches at 20 locations, including the mentioned Bank in Irinjalakuda, Thrissur. Additionally, five surveys were conducted in other related cooperative banks to expose the proceeds of crime and gather evidence of money laundering. On 04.09.2023 & 26.09.2023, four individuals were apprehended under the provisions of the PMLA, 2002, as they were beneficiaries of the unlawfully sanctioned loans. The ED had previously attached properties worth Rs. 30 Crore, including a resort in Thekkady, Kerala, owned by an individual, who had also received illicit loans from the bank and invested in the resort, as per the press release of the Directorate of Enforcement.

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