Kochi | Senior CPI(M) leader and MLA, A C Moideen, on Monday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here in connection with its probe into the Rs 150 crore Karuvannur Cooperative bank scam which triggered a political row in Kerala recently. Moideen reached the ED office along with his lawyer.
The legislator was summoned by the agency for questioning twice but this is the first time he was appearing before them.
Moideen, 67, was first asked to depose before the investigating officer of the case on August 31 but he expressed his inability to come and said that he received the summons late. He was later issued a fresh notice to appear before the agency on September 4.
The case relates to the alleged fraud in the CPI(M)-controlled Karuvannur Cooperative Bank.
The ED has been questioning some people involved in the case since it conducted raids at their premises last month.
During his questioning, the ED is expected to confront Moideen with documents and records seized during these raids, statements of some people apart from recording the MLA's statement under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The agency had issued freeze orders against bank and fixed deposits worth Rs 28 lakh of Moideen, the former Kerala Minister for Cooperation and Industries and his wife, apart from the seizure of 36 properties valued at Rs 15 crore -- "proceeds of crime" in this case.
Moideen, who currently represents the Kunnamkulam constituency in the Kerala Assembly, had addressed the press after the raids conducted at his residence on August 22 and said the action was "pre-planned," adding that he would cooperate with any investigation.
The ED had claimed its probe found that "on the instructions of certain persons, who were district-level leaders and committee members of a certain political party and 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 the accused".
"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 carried out.
Some of those whose premises raided were identified as Kiran P P, Rahim C M, Shiju M K and Satheesh Kumar P, according to the ED.
The agency had recently arrested Kumar and Kiran. They claimed that Kumar was the kingpin.
This case of alleged fraud, beginning in 2010, in the Thrissur-based Karuvannur Cooperative Bank triggered a political row in Kerala two years ago.
The money laundering case stems from 16 FIRs registered by the Kerala Police (Crime Branch) in Thrissur.
The ED had carried out similar raids 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.
After the Kerala Police registered the FIR in July 2021, the registrar in their audit found "diversions" of more than Rs 100 crore, the ED had said last year