What steps have been taken to help PMC Bank depositors, the Bombay High Court asked the RBI. (Photo Credit: File Image)
The Bombay High Court ordered the Reserve Bank of India to file an affidavit in connection with the PMC bank scam on Monday. A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and R I Chagla was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the bank depositors, challenging restrictions imposed by the RBI on withdrawals. The High Court has set November 13 as deadline for the Central Bank. The matter will be taken up by the Bombay High Court on November 19. Last week, the Delhi High Court on Friday sent out notices to the Narendra Modi government and central bank RBI over the withdrawal limits for the scam-hit bank. The Friday development may help the depositors. The Delhi High Court sought reply from the Centre, Reserve Bank of India and others after a PIL was filed against the withdrawal limits for the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank.
The litigation also sought direction to insure the depositors, who have been staring at an uncertain future. Many of them have their savings that they deposited for more than five decades and now they are struggling to meet their daily requirements of cash.
The matter will be taken up next on January 22, 2020. Earlier on October 23 last month, the withdrawal limit was eased for emergency situations. At present, the customers can withdraw an additional Rs 50,000 for emergencies, apart from the current withdrawal limit of Rs 40,000.
This is good news for thousands of PMC Bank depositors who have been protesting against the regulatory impositions by the Reserve Bank of India. Kirit Somaiya, BJP Maharashtra Vice-President, tweeted on Wednesday morning that depositors can apply for the withdrawal at their respective branches for any medical or educational emergency.
Last month, in a major setback for customers of scam-hit Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain the petition that sought direction to the Reserve Bank of India against putting restriction on withdrawal of money. The top court asked the petitioners that they may approach the Bombay High Court for relief. The RBI has imposed restrictions on the bank following the discovery of a Rs 4,355-crore scam. Meanwhile, a Mumbai court had sent Joy Thomas, former Managing Director of PMC Bank, to judicial custody for 14 days. The court also sent former Director Surjit Singh Arora to police remand till 22nd October. Thomas and Arora were produced in Mumbai's Esplanade court on Thursday. Thomas, arrested earlier this month, is one of the key accused in the alleged Rs 4,355-crore scam at the city-based Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank. Real estate firm HDIL's promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang and the bank's former chairman, Waryam Singh, are the other accused in the scam. They are already in judicial custody till October 23.
A Mumbai court sent Joy Thomas, former Managing Director of PMC Bank, to judicial custody for 14 days. The court also sent former Director Surjit Singh Arora to police remand till 22nd October. Thomas and Arora were produced in Mumbai's Esplanade court on Thursday. Thomas, arrested earlier this month, is one of the key accused in the alleged Rs 4,355-crore scam at the city-based Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank. Real estate firm HDIL's promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang and the bank's former chairman, Waryam Singh, are the other accused in the scam. They are already in judicial custody till October 23.
The development comes as reports of three deaths of PMC depositors shocked the account holders. A depositor of scam-hit PMC Bank allegedly committed suicide, while another died of a heart attack a few hours after taking part in a protest by bank customers seeking their money back. Dr Nivedita Bijlani (39), who allegedly ended life on Monday evening, and Sanjay Gulati (51) who died of a heart attack on the same day, had deposits of over Rs 90 lakh each with the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank. The bank has been put under restrictions by the RBI following the discovery of a Rs 4,355 crore scam. Deposit withdrawals have been capped at Rs 40,000 over a six-month period, causing panic and distress among depositors.
Gulati, an account-holder at the scam-hit PMC bank, died of heart attack in Mumbai on Monday. Just hours before his death, Gulati had taken part in the protests against the government over the bank fraud. The 51-year-old, a resident of Oshiwara, Andheri West, came home and complained of uneasiness. Soon, he was rushed to Kokilaben Hospital in Versova, where Gulati was declared brought dead. News Nation has learnt that Gulati had previously lost his job at the Jet Airways. According to his relatives, Gulati was very worried and anxious over the bank fraud.
(With agency inputs)