Senior officials of scam-hit PMC Bank used special codes to hide hundreds of dummy loan accounts of HDIL, to which the bank had over 73 per cent of its loan exposure, the Reserve Bank informed the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. In an affidavit, the RBI also said of the 1,800 employees of Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank, only about 25 of them could access the loans accounts of the now bankrupt real estate developer HDIL and its group entities.
The regulator said these few employees used an access code to hide and restrict the visibility of these dummy accounts of the realty developer. The Reserve Bank is closely monitoring the situation at the bank and a forensic audit is underway, governor Shaktikanta Das had said earlier amid persisting uncertainty over depositors' funds.
"Senior officials of the PMC Bank had assigned certain specific access codes to the accounts belonging to HDIL and its group entities which were used for assigning restricted visibility," the RBI affidavit said.
"Less than 25 of the 1,800 staff of the bank, could access these loan accounts. As a result, all the stressed HDIL group accounts were omitted from the system," it added. The arrested promoters of HDIL allegedly siphoned funds from PMC Bank by using overdraft facilities and the money was "disguised" as loan accounts by bank officials, the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police had said earlier.
The urban cooperative bank, which was placed under an RBI administrator on September 23, has an exposure to the bankrupt HDIL of over Rs 6,500 crore, which is 73 per cent of its entire assets of Rs 8,880 crore.
The RBI further said the undisclosed loan accounts to the HDIL group were sanctioned and renewed with approval of the bank's now-suspended managing director Joy Thomas, who is behind the bars now along with the bank chairman Wayram Singh.
"These loan sanctions are not recorded in the minutes of loans committee, recovery committee and so on," the affidavit said. "PMC Bank submitted fraudulently manipulated data to the RBI for sample checks and the sample of accounts picked for inspection did not contain the undisclosed HDIL related accounts," it said.
The RBI also informed the court that depositors of the bank can approach the RBI-appointed administrator for withdrawal up to Rs 1 lakh in case of medical emergencies.
The withdrawal limit for account holders was initially Rs 1,000 per each customer for six months, which was later raised to Rs 10,000 and is now presently at Rs 50,000.