New Delhi | The Enforcement Directorate has conducted searches at nine locations in Kerala in connection with an alleged Rs 150-crore scam in CPI(M) controlled Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank Ltd, officials said Tuesday.
The agency arrested prime accused Sathish Kumar P and Kiran P P earlier this month.
The searches were conducted against 'benamis' and beneficiaries who allegedly siphoned off more than Rs. 150 crore from the bank, the ED said in a statement.
"During the searches and survey operations, 800 grams gold and Rs 5.5 lakh were seized from the residential premises of Sunil Kumar, from the residence of Anilkumar, 05 documents of value approximately Rs 15 crore were seized and from the residential premises of Deepak S, 19 documents of value more than Rs 5 Crore were seized being proceeds of crime," it said.
The agency has also retrieved 25 benami properties documents dealt by Satheesh Kumar, it said.
The ED had taken over investigation on the basis of FIRs filed by the Kerala Police.
"ED investigation initiated on the basis of Police FIRs alleging that the
accused had swindled public money through irregularities in sanctioning process. ED investigation into the fraud has revealed that on the instructions of District level leaders of a political party and committee members who 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 accused," the agency said in a statement.
This case of alleged fraud, beginning in 2010, in the Thrissur-based bank has triggered a political row in the state.
The money laundering case stems from 16 FIRs registered by the Kerala Police (crime branch) in Thrissur.
Kiran P P was the "beneficiary of illegally sanctioned loans in the names of benamis using benami properties and thereby generated proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 48.57 crore including principal and interest which remained unpaid to the bank", the ED had alleged.
Sathish Kumar P also committed the alleged offence and generated proceeds of crime of more than Rs 14 crore in the form of illegal loans from the bank, it had claimed.
"Many such benami loans were disbursed on the instructions of A C Moideen," it had alleged in a statement issued on August 23, a day after the raids were undertaken.
Moideen, 67, had told the press that the ED action was "pre-planned," adding he would cooperate with any investigation.
He is a former minister for cooperation and industries and currently represents the Kunnamkulam constituency in the state Assembly.
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. It had attached assets worth Rs 30.70 crore of a commission agent of the bank, Bijoy A K.