Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday accused central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of targeting the cooperative sector banks in the state while turning a blind-eye to large-scale financial irregularities in other parts of the country.
Vijayan alleged that agencies like the ED were coming to Kerala to portray something being wrong with the cooperative banks here, with the "ill-intention" of destroying the sector.
The CM said that such politically motivated moves would neither be accepted nor permitted in the state.
He was speaking after inaugurating a conference here on the topic of protecting the cooperative sector.
Vijayan said there were deposits worth over Rs 2.5 lakh crore in cooperative sector banks in the state which were functioning efficiently and professionally.
"With the aim of destroying this sector, central agencies are coming here," he alleged.
Referring to the Karuvannur bank scam, Vijayan said that once the corruption in that establishment was revealed, both the cooperation department and the police had taken action.
While action was taken against the culprits, the government did not shut down the bank but tried to support it in order to safeguard the trust the people have on cooperative banks, he said.
"However, the ED rushed to the place as if it had found something new. It wanted to show that irregularities were taking place in the cooperative sector in the state with the aim of destroying it. That we cannot accept or allow," the CM alleged.
"Instead of investigating large-scale irregularities in other parts of the country where no action has been taken by the state governments, it is coming here," he further alleged.
Vijayan also claimed that the ED is an agency that has been severely criticised by many top courts of the country.
He said that various public sector banks in the country had over Rs 66 lakh crore worth non-performing assets and, of those, around Rs 16 lakh crore was waived off by the central government.
"These huge irregularities were committed by those at the helm of huge corporate companies. They committed the frauds and escaped to foreign nations," Vijayan said.
He further alleged that 15 per cent of such businessmen are those with links to the BJP at the Centre.
"Therefore, they are safe. No one questions them. There are some banks who are complicit in such activities, but the ED never sees them, never reaches them and does not question them.
"Instead, it targets the cooperative sector banks which are the backbone of our state. This is not acceptable and will be opposed," Vijayan said.
He called upon everyone to come together as one and oppose such activities of central agencies like ED.
The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating the multi-crore Karuvannur bank scam, has arrested a local CPI(M) leader and Wadakkanchery Municipal Councillor P R Aravindakshan.
The agency also arrested a former employee of the bank C K Jills, who allegedly syphoned off Rs 5 crore in bank funds.
The ED had earlier arrested two people in connection with the alleged issuance of 'benami' loans from the bank.
On September 11, CPI(M) leader and MLA A C Moideen was interrogated for over nine hours by the ED.
The investigation into the alleged fraud, beginning in 2010 in the Thrissur-based bank, stems from 16 FIRs registered by the Kerala Police (crime branch) in Thrissur.