Depositors of the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank held a protest outside the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) headquarters in south Mumbai on Saturday. The depositors gathered outside the RBI around 11.45 am and held protests by showing placards and chanting slogans against PMC Bank and the RBI, a police official said.
Police were deployed to avert any untoward incident, he said, adding that nobody has so far been detained or taken into custody.
On Friday, an 83-year-old depositor died of heart attack after his family failed to arrange funds for his surgery. The diseased, identified as Murlidhar Dharra, had Rs 80 lakh in deposits with the PMC bank but could not withdraw the money due to the Reserve Bank's curb. This is the fourth death of PMC Bank's depositors after the RBI set a limit on cash withdrawals at Rs 40,000. Earlier, a lady doctor committed suicide and two other people died of cardiac arrests.
Speaking to news agency PTI, Dharra's son said that his father died at their residence in Mumbai's suburban Mulund as the family could not arrange the required resources for a heart surgery which doctors had recommended for him. It is worth noting that the RBI, in his directions, has allowed withdrawal of money beyond the set limit in case medical emergencies but it was not immediately clear whether the bank refused to entertain Dharra family's request.
The RBI had initially put a cap of Rs 1,000 on the deposit withdrawals and upped it to Rs 40,000 in three moves. Hapless PMC depositors have been protesting across the country for getting their money back, ever since the bank was placed under restrictions.
The spate of deaths started with the death of the 51-year-old Sumeet Gulati on Tuesday, who had lost his job with Jet Airways after the airline was grounded, hours after attending a depositors’ protest, which was followed by the alleged suicide of Nivedita Jagtiani and then another Mulund resident, Fatto Punjabi. All the depositors who died had high amount of money stuck in the bank, in the region of over Rs 80 lakh each.
The RBI said there was financial mismanagement at the bank in connivance with realty player HDIL, which was hidden from it for long. The city police claimed it is a Rs 4,355-crore scam and arrested five people in connection of the same, including the bank chairman, the managing director, and the promoters of HDIL.