CPM Leader Accused of Rs 4.76 Crore Fraud in Kerala Cooperative Bank

A prominent Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, K. Ratheeshan, has been accused of defrauding a cooperative bank in Kerala, India, of Rs 4.76 crore and stealing gold jewelry worth Rs 1.12 crore, highlighting vulnerabilities in the state's cooperative banking system and raising concerns about accountability among leaders. The alleged fraud took place at the Karadka Agriculture Welfare Cooperative Society, where Ratheeshan served as secretary, and is currently under investigation by the police and the Crime Branch." This description focuses on the primary topic of financial fraud, the main entity involved (K. Ratheeshan and the Karadka Agriculture Welfare Cooperative Society), the context of Kerala's cooperative banking system, and the significant actions and consequences of the alleged fraud. The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the setting of a bank or cooperative society, the presence of gold jewelry, and the involvement of law enforcement agencies.

Nitish Verma
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CPM Leader Accused of Rs 4.76 Crore Fraud in Kerala Cooperative Bank

CPM Leader Accused of Rs 4.76 Crore Fraud in Kerala Cooperative Bank

In a shocking case of financial fraud, K. Ratheeshan, a prominent CPM leader and secretary of the Karadka Agriculture Welfare Cooperative Society in Kasaragod, Kerala, has been accused of defrauding the bank of Rs 4.76 crore and stealing gold jewellery worth Rs 1.12 crore. The police have registered an FIR against Ratheeshan under Sections 409 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) based on a complaint filed by the society's president, Soopi K.

Why this matters: This fraud case highlights the vulnerabilities in the cooperative banking system in Kerala and raises concerns about the lack of accountability among leaders of such institutions. The incident also undermines the public's trust in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its ability to govern the state effectively.

The alleged fraudulent activities came to light during a routine inspection by officials of the Department of Cooperation on April 29, 2024, which detected a financial irregularity of Rs 11 lakh. Further investigation revealed that Ratheeshan had taken gold loans worth Rs 1.68 crore in the names of his close relatives and fictitious individuals without pledging any gold jewellery. He also diverted Rs 1.96 crore of cash credit from Kerala Bank and robbed jewellery worth Rs 1.12 crore, which was pledged by 41 persons.

The cooperative society, controlled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), has a total deposit of around Rs 9 crore and a cash credit line of Rs 3 crore from Kerala Bank. Ratheeshan, who had been serving as the secretary since 2018, is currently absconding. On May 9, 2024, he walked into the bank, threatened two female employees, and emptied the locker before fleeing.

CPM leaders have expressed shock and disappointment over the incident. C H Kunhambu, Udma MLA and CPM's state committee member, described the fraud as "daylight robbery" and stated that it was "bigger than Karuvannur," referring to a previous loan fraud of at least Rs 100 crore in Thrissur district. Sigi Mathew, who heads the CPM's Karadka Area Committee, said, "We believe he is in Bengaluru. If the police did not arrest him soon, his life would be in danger."

The investigation team, including the cyber cell, believes that Ratheeshan may be hiding in Karnataka, likely in Bengaluru. The police have initiated procedures to hand over the case to the Crime Branch for further probe. If convicted under Sections 409 and 420 of the IPC, Ratheeshan may face a prison term between 10 years and a life sentence.

This fraud case comes to light while the Enforcement Directorate is probing two Left-controlled cooperative banks in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala's capital city. The CPM has suspended Ratheeshan from the party pending further investigation. C.H. Kunhambu stated that the party would bring the wrongdoers to justice, saying, "The wrongdoers in the case would be brought before the law."

Key Takeaways

  • K. Ratheeshan, CPM leader, accused of defrauding bank of ₹4.76 crore and stealing gold worth ₹1.12 crore.
  • Fraud detected during routine inspection, Ratheeshan absconding since May 9, 2024.
  • CPM leaders express shock, suspend Ratheeshan from party pending investigation.
  • Police register FIR under IPC Sections 409 and 420, possible prison term 10 years to life sentence.
  • Incident raises concerns about cooperative banking system and CPM's ability to govern Kerala effectively.