[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]K[/dropcap]erala, the God’s Own Country, has turned out to be a tax haven for people engaged in money laundering, black money, hawala deals and counterfeit currency. The joint agitation launched by the CPI-M and the Congress against the Centre points to this direction.
In a shocking development, Friday (November 18) saw the Marxist Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan and his council of ministers staging a dawn to dusk demonstration in front of the regional office of the Reserve Bank of India…
Kerala’s ruling party, the CPI-M and the main opposition, the Congress have come together to challenge the fight against black money unleashed by Prime Minister NarendraModi. In what is seen as an event of repercussions all over the country, the Congress on Friday declared unconditional support to the CPI-M which has declared a war on the Modi government at the Centre reportedly against the demonetization of currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denominations.
In a shocking development, Friday (November 18) saw the Marxist Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan and his council of ministers staging a dawn to dusk demonstration in front of the regional office of the Reserve Bank of India to protest the drive against black money initiated by Narendra Modi.
The Congress and other parties barring the BJP have declared their support to the agitation launched by the CPI-M, which the latter describes as one against the ban on the State’s cooperative banking sector in the currency exchange exercise.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]n investigation by Team PGurus has brought out startling revelations which portray Kerala as the epicentre of all black money operations in South India. “The cooperative banking sector in Kerala, which has a total deposit of Rs 1.27 lakh crore, is as good as a tax haven in Europe. One need not go to Europe in search of a safe tax haven. All cooperative banks in Kerala could offer you everything under the sun and you need not bother about spending money on air tickets or star hotel accommodations,” K Karunakaran Nambiar, All India General Secretary, Sahakar Bharati, told Team PGurus on November 19 (Saturday).
The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is a treasure house of unaccounted money and there is every possibility of these banks being used for money laundering…
– Suresh Gopinath, Chartered Accountant in Ernakulam
Nambiar, a well-known lawyer and an experienced cooperative sector activist, pointed out that the Congress and the CPI-M have come together against the war declared by the Modi government against black money with ulterior motives. “The CPI-M and the Congress leaders all have deposits worth hundreds of crore in the cooperative banks in Kerala. This is because the cooperative banks are exempted from the guidelines for banking operations issued by the Reserve Bank of India. One need not furnish the details like Aadhar Card, Pan Card or Know Your Customer (KYC) while depositing their money in these banks,” said Nambiar.
This was substantiated and supported by professionals in the fields of taxation, laws, businesses and accounting. “The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is a treasure house of unaccounted money and there is every possibility of these banks being used for money laundering,” said Suresh Gopinath, a chartered accountant in Ernakulam.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he cooperative sector in Kerala is directly under the control of the CPI-M. Though it is mandatory that office bearers and directors of the cooperative societies should be elected democratically it is all in paper, said Subramanian Namboodiri, a priest working in Chellamattam. “We have a cooperative bank by the name of Okkal Service Cooperative Bank. One of the directors is an auto rickshaw driver who has not passed even the SSLC examination,” said Namboodiri. He said the director owes it to the CPI-M in which he is an active member. “This is the situation with all the cooperative banks and enterprises,” said Nambiar.
It is reported that revenue intelligence officials and intelligence professionals who were tracking the flow of terrorism finance into Kerala stumbled upon the cooperative bank transactions made by the suspected terrorists.
Nambiar also pointed out that the CPI-M and the Congress were vehemently against the recommendations made by the Task Force under Prof A Vaidyanathan (constituted by the Central Government in 2004) to revive and strengthen the cooperative movement and sector in the country. “Had the recommendations made by the Vaidyanathan Committee been implemented, there would not have been a situation where farmers commit suicide for their failure to repay loans and the availability of farm loans would have become much easier,” he said.
The first noticeable reaction from Kerala came immediately after the November 8 announcement by Prime Minister Modi demonetizing the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 value currency notes. Chief Minister Vijayan and finance minister Thomas Issac (who claims himself to be an economist of international repute), though do not see eye to eye on any issues, travelled together to New Delhi to meet the Prime Minister and the union finance minister to plead with them not to exempt the cooperative banks from the currency exchange exercise. Both of them alleged that the BJP in Kerala was hatching a political conspiracy to destabilise the cooperative sector in the State.
It is reported that revenue intelligence officials and intelligence professionals who were tracking the flow of terrorism finance into Kerala stumbled upon the cooperative bank transactions made by the suspected terrorists. In addition to this, all ministers and politicians who were involved in shady deals have got vast deposits in the cooperative banks in Kerala.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he latest information is that an amount of Rs 81 crore (Rs 810 million invested as term deposits) is lying unclaimed in various branches of the cooperative banks. “These are all long-term deposits. The investors have not taken back the money though these are all more than five years old,” said a senior auditor of the cooperative banking sector.
All former ministers in the previous Oommen Chandy government have expressed their solidarity with the CPI-M chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan…
Independent observers are unanimous in their view that the cooperative banks in Kerala are being used to hoard unaccounted money and counterfeit currency notes. Abhilash Chandran, a lawyer in Pathanamthitta, who has specialised in the co-operative movement, pointed out that not a single co-operative bank in the State has come forward to apply for a banking license issued by the RBI. “The cooperative banks in Kerala are exempted from any kind of investigation by the Department of Income Tax. So, all money launderers and hoarders are making use of this lacuna to escape from the radar of the income tax department,” said Chandran.
All former ministers in the previous Oommen Chandy government have expressed their solidarity with the CPI-M chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his party’s fight against the cancellation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes. Even V S Achuthanandan, who has been cut up with Vijayan for denying him an office in the secretariat complex at the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram came out openly on Friday to support the CPI-M chief minister of Kerala. It may be noted that there were allegations from the CPI-M itself against Arun Kumar, son of Achuthanandan for holding unaccounted money in west Asian banks.
V Muraleedharan, former chief of Kerala BJP asked how was it possible for Kerala to have a separate cooperative bank law even as the cooperative sectors in other states were following a uniform law. He also questioned the impropriety in not entrusting the responsibility of auditing the cooperative banks in the State to professional auditors.