A Kerala minister on Thursday slammed raids conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at five district cooperative banks, saying these were not carried out with good intentions.
The raids were carried out on Wednesday in Kollam, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Thrissur districts.
"This is nothing but politically motivated and began ever since the demonetisation process set in, and what happened yesterday (Wednesday) is an extension of that, " state Minister for Cooperatives Kadakampally Surendran told reporters here.
"This is a targeted move to destroy the cooperative movement in the state.
The state government has already made its stand clear that it will cooperate with the agencies. "
Since the demonetisation drive began on November 8, the primary cooperative banks in the state have come under strong attack from various Kerala state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
They have alleged that these banks do not require the "Know Your Customer (KYC)" banking norm and were filled with unaccounted money of the top leaders of the traditional rival fronts - - the Congress - led UDF and the CPI - M - led LDF.
Sources said that following the daylong raids, the officials have stumbled upon sizeable deposits that have not followed the KYC guidelines.
The cooperative banking sector in Kerala is a three - tier system, with about 1, 600 primary cooperative banks attached to 14 district banks, which are further linked to the apex Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB).
The total deposits in these cooperative banks are around Rs 1. 27 lakh crore.
The trouble started for the sector when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) withdrew the permission to the cooperative banks to accept the spiked Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.
Meanwhile, all banks after the raids have been asked to provide the details of all high value transactions that have taken place in the past two months.
CPI - M State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Thursday said that the reason to target the cooperative banks is to help the new generation banks.