PM Modi slams Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan over cooperative bank scam

PM Modi also criticised Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M) for "robbing the poor", saying "action would be taken against the corrupt."
PM Modi slams Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan over cooperative bank scam
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday, April 15, launched a scathing attack on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, saying that the latter has told lies for the past three years in the Rs 300 crore Karuvannur Cooperative Bank scam, in which several CPI(M) leaders were involved. The Prime Minister was addressing a rally in Kerala's Thrissur where the BJP has been raising the bank scam issue. For the second time on the same day, addressing a large gathering at Kattakada, PM Modi criticised the Chief Minister and the CPI(M) for "robbing the poor", saying "action would be taken against the corrupt."

“Kerala CM has been lying about this scam for the past three years and has done nothing. Instead, it was the Union government which acted and the Enforcement Directorate has now attached Rs 90 crore. Modi guarantees that all the people who have deposited the money will get it back. The Government of India in the past has returned Rs 17,000 crore to people who were cheated,” said PM Modi.

Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank was the most profitable cooperative bank in the Thrissur district before the scam came to light in 2021, with the suicide of a former panchayat member TM Mukundan. He was asked to repay a loan of Rs 50 lakh by the bank, which he had never taken. 

The Crime Branch took over the investigation from the local police in July 2021. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) started an investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act into the scam which is probing the bank fraud estimated to be above Rs 300 crore. 

The Prime Minister then pointed out that the Left and the Congress governments in the state have taken the state backwards. “All of you should beware of both these parties as they are the same and are engaged in corruption only. We know of a Congress leader who has left his family seat in Uttar Pradesh and has come here. Has he ever spoken one word about the Cooperative bank scam, he will only ask for your votes, but won’t do anything else,” said PM Modi.

“The INDIA bloc was formed for just one reason as they know Modi will finish them off. They are fighting here, while in Delhi they are one. This time all of you should ensure that there are BJP Lok Sabha members from Kerala and I assure you every vote that you give us will be used to protect your hard-earned money,” said the PM.

At Kattakkada, he said, “The CPI(M) in Kerala has robbed the poor. In around 80 CPI(M) controlled cooperative banks, there were problems. The Thrissur district CPI(M) secretary has amassed assets worth Rs 100 crore." 

He also claimed, "... but it is the Union government which will give the money back to the people who have deposited in these Cooperative banks, and their monies were looted by the CPI(M). By now, everyone knows about the involvement of Pinarayi Vijayan and his daughter in the matter of CMRL company (a Kochi-based mining firm currently under the scanner of the ED). Had Narendra Modi government been not there, this scam would have gone unnoticed," PM Modi said. 

He further said, "All the corrupt will be taken into task. Due to the way the Kerala government is being run, the Treasury is empty and there is no money to even pay salaries. The funds from the Union government are used to repay the debts. The state government also went to the Supreme Court and they got a sound beating."

The Union government, in February 2024, submitted at the Supreme Court that there were multiple studies documenting poor public finance management by Kerala. The note by Attorney General (AG) R Venkataramani named Kerala as one of the most financially unhealthy states whose fiscal edifice has been diagnosed with several cracks.

Earlier, on his arrival in the district, PM Modi was given a rousing welcome. Dressed in typical Kerala attire, PM Modi’s visit to the district this year is his third, as he came twice in January.

The Thrissur Lok Sabha seat has a triangular fight. Film actor Suresh Gopi is the BJP candidate pitted against Congress MP K Muraleedharan, who is the son of Congress veteran late K Karunakaran. Muraleedharan is the sitting MP from Badagara, but this time he is fighting from Thrissur. Popular CPI leader and former State Minister VS Sunil Kumar is the third prominent candidate for this seat.

PM Modi reached Kochi, late on Sunday and Monday morning he flew on a helicopter to Sree Krishna College Guruvayoor. From there he took the road to the meeting venue at the Cheruvathoor ground which falls in the Alathur Lok Sabha constituency. From Guruvayoor to Cheruvathoor, around a 2 km stretch, people lined up on either side of the road. PM Modi with the lotus symbol in hand waved back at the excited crowd.

The NDA candidates from five constituencies -- Thrissur, Alathur, Ponnani, Malappuram and Chalakudy -- shared the dais with the Prime Minister. The daughter of Karunakaran, Padmaja Venugopal, who recently joined the BJP, was also on the stage along with popular film actor Devan. The actor joined the BJP last year after quitting the Congress party. Around 2,000 police officials were deployed in the security net for the PM.

(With IANS inputs)

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