Father Thomas Peelianickal who is the executive director of the Kuttanad Vikasana Samithi (KVS) office in Alappuzha, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with an agriculture loan scam in Kuttanad.
The District crime branch team led by Dy SP Vijayakumaran Nair arrested him.
Police said that as per complaints received by them, Peelianickal had availed loans on behalf of farmersâ self-help groups by allegedly forging documents of several farmers.
He is accused in six cases of loan fraud out of which Kerala High Court had earlier granted him anticipatory bail in two cases.
Peelianickalâs arrest was recorded at the CB office in Alappuzha on Tuesday evening and he will be produced before Ramankari Judicial First Class Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
Nair told The Times of India that 14 cases have been registered related to agriculture loan fraud. âAs per the evidence we collected, Peelianickal is now accused in only six cases. The investigation is progressing and Peelianickal may become accused in more cases in coming days,â the investigation team said.
Veliyanad Block panchayat member and NCP leader Rojo Joseph is the main accused in the case but he is absconding.
The fraud came to light after Shaji, a native of Kavalam, disclosed that a joint liability group of farmers under Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy took Rs 5 lakh loan from Canara Bank in his name, whereas he was not a member of that group. Following this, he received loan recovery notice from the bank.
As per his complaint, the loan was taken by Karshaka Mithra Nel Karshka Joint Liability Group formed under KVS. However, the first case registered against Peelanickal was based on a complaint filed by a woman member of Mithrakari Nel Karshaka Samithi.
Peelianickal had allegedly acquired loans by forming self-help groups under various names and forged documents for availing the loans from different banks in Alappuzha.
The crime branch discovered that loans were availed by forging the signatures of farmers who were into paddy cultivation at Kuttanad.