The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is facing a deep-rooted trust crisis as cases of alleged scams continue to emerge, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the industry. The latest scandal unfolded at the Pulpally Cooperative Bank, located in the Wayanad district.
Troubling tales of loan fraud started to surface after the tragic suicide of a farmer and the subsequent arrest of the bank’s former president. In the midst of this turmoil, K P Daniel and his family found themselves entangled in a distressing situation. They had initially taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh from the Pulpally bank, only to discover that they were now being pressured to repay over Rs 1 crore.
In order to secure the loan in 2018, Daniel’s 33 cents of land in Anappara and his wife’s 28 cents in Kelakkavala were pledged to the bank. However, Daniel now regrets his passive role in the loan application process. He claims that he never visited the bank or inquired about the loan amount that was being sanctioned.
The loan documents were prepared by a close family acquaintance, K Sajeevan. The loan was intended to invest in ginger cultivation in Karnataka, a venture in which Daniel’s sons Shiju, Shibu, and Sajeevan himself had interests. However, the situation took a drastic turn when the family received a notice from the bank for defaulting on their repayment.
The notice revealed that a joint loan of Rs 36 lakh had been granted to the family, with the funds being transferred to account numbers provided by Sajeevan. Each time the family received a notice, Sajeevan assured them that he would settle the matter. Frustrated by the lack of action, Daniel approached the former bank president, K K Abraham, as well as local authorities and the bishop for assistance. Sajeevan and his brother, Shaji, repeatedly promised to return the pledged documents once the loan was resolved.
Amidst these troubles, Daniel’s son Shiju distanced himself from the ginger farm in Karnataka, as he did not receive any of the promised benefits from Sajeevan. Currently, Daniel and his family reside in a dilapidated house owned by their daughter, Sheeba. They even staged a protest for seven months to draw attention to their plight.
To further exacerbate the situation, Sajeevan allegedly obtained another loan of Rs 25 lakh in the name of Daniel’s son, Shiju, by registering a power of attorney for someone else’s land. Recently, a repayment default notice for this loan also arrived.
In a tragic turn of events, Rajendran Nair, who was part of the protest, tragically took his own life. The mounting pressure and uncertainty have left Daniel and his wife, both in their 70s, fearing the loss of their house and other assets.
In response to the distressing developments, the police have arrested K K Abraham, the former bank president, and K T Ramadevi, the bank secretary, in connection with Rajendran Nair’s suicide. The investigation into the Pulpally Cooperative Bank scam continues to unfold, shedding light on the deep-rooted issues within the cooperative banking sector.