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PMC Bank account holders stage protest at RBI; demand full money withdrawal

PTI     November 6, 2019

Scam-hit PMC Bank's depositors staged protest outside the RBI office in Delhi on Wednesday, demanding complete withdrawal of their money from the bank.

Most of the 20-odd depositors took to sloganeering against the RBI, alleging it was hand-in-glove with the perpetrators of fraud.

The depositors, who gathered were from Tilak Nagar in West Delhi where the bank has a branch, said most of their families have collective deposits in excess of Rs 51 lakh in the bank.

Earlier in September, the Reserve Bank of India had imposed restrictions on the withdrawal limit of the account-holders after it found alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 4,355 crore by diverting money to infrastructure firm HDIL.

On Tuesday, the apex bank enhanced the cash withdrawal to Rs 50,000 per account, which was the fourth such increase since the bank was placed under its direct control with an administrator on September 23.

Five persons, including HDIL promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhwan, were arrested by the police in the case. Since then several protests have been held by the depositors in Mumbai and at least 10 depositors are claimed to have died since the alleged scam came to light.

The protesting depositors, mostly belonging to business community, said they have not been able meet regular needs such as children's fees, medical, paying EMIs etc.

Also read: PMC Bank crisis: Here's how the troubled lender became a stakeholder in NPCI

"Even we have not been able to pay towards our GST as the advance tax payment date is nearing. From where do we get the money," the agitating protestors, who submitted a memorandum to RBI officials, said.

"We have submitted our requests to the RBI, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister around Diwali but have not received any communication or assurance from them so far. RBI as the regulator gave license to the bank but now it is not hearing to the depositors," said Daisy, one of the depositors.

She said the RBI officials, even as received the memorandum submitted by them, failed to assure anything saying they will forward it to the Mumbai headquarters.

Taranjit Singh (33) said at least a representative from the RBI should assure them that the deposited amount will be returned in a given time frame.

Singh, who is in a private job, has Rs 10 lakh deposited in the scam-hit bank. "The RBI should conduct a press conference and assure us that our money is safe," he said.

Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank (PMC Bank), which is among the top 10 urban cooperative banks, was placed under an RBI administrator on September 23 for six months due to massive under-reporting of dud loans. The bank has 6 branches in Delhi.

Sixty-five year old Manjit Singh said he has fixed deposit in lakhs and his livelihood depends on the interest earned from this deposit.

"If this is way the bank deals with their customers, people will lose faith in the banking system," he said.

Tajinder Singh, a senior citizen, said he has been a customer of the bank for the past five years and has deposits of Rs 1.4 crore. Tajinder said he had deposited Rs 40 lakh on September 23, just a day before the cap on withdrawal kicked in.

"None of the bank representatives cautioned me of the impending crisis," he said.

Harmeet Singh (28), a salesman by profession, said he had taken a loan to buy a house and deposited Rs 15 lakh in the bank just two months ago.

"I am facing difficulties in withdrawing cash," he said, adding that the PMC should be merged with some healthy bank.

Also read: PMC Bank scam: ED says HDIL promoters diverted loans worth Rs 160 crore to 3 Delhi hotels

Also read: CBI raids 187 locations over bank fraud cases worth Rs 7,200 crore

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