PMC Bank depositors to file a writ petition in Bombay HC on Tuesday

Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank depositors, who are unable to access their money stuck after the scam, are planning to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court by Tuesday.

Vishwas Utagi, convenor of the PMC Bank Depositors’ Association, said, “We are working on the draft and will file the writ petition by Tuesday. We want to understand why Waryam Singh was not removed from his position as chairman of the bank although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) knew that he has a conflict of interest. He was also a board of member of Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL).”

“Why was the case not investigated by the task force on cooperative urban banks (TAFCUB)? We are demanding 100 per cent protection for deposits in all co-operative banks. In this writ petition, we will make both RBI and PMC Bank the parties,” Utagi added.
Utagi is also representing the Sion-based Guru Nanak Vidyak, which runs the community’s educational institutions in this writ petition. The Sikh community has already banned eight members of the PMC Bank board from their community. 

Moneylife Foundation is also working towards the cause by collecting the signature of all depositors through Whatsapp, emails and phone calls. 

Sucheta Dalal, founder of Trustee Moneylife Foundation, told Business Standard, “We are collecting signatures of the depositors because if the number is big, it will have an impact in court and help the petition.”

Aggrieved depositors also spoke to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman when she was in the city to campaign for her party for the upcoming state elections. 

Sitharaman said she has spoken to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das about their problems. She also made it clear that all cooperative banks come under the regulation of the RBI even though they are registered under the state legislature.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also assured the depositors that he will take up the matter with the Prime Minister. Keeping the state assembly elections in the backdrop, the PMC Bank scam has become a huge political issue. 

The bank hogged the limelight in September end when a whistleblower told the RBI that there are major irregularities in the books of the bank. Following this, the RBI stopped all banking activities of PMC Bank and suspended the management of the board.

Initially, depositors were allowed to withdraw Rs 1,000 per holder for six months. Then this amount was raised to Rs 10,000 and lastly this amount was revised to Rs 25,000 per account holder for six months.

PMC Bank’s former managing director (MD) Joy Thomas accepted the fact that his board helped him in manipulating more than 21,000 bogus accounts through which money was siphoned off to the Mumbai-based realty firm HDIL.

HDIL promoters, former MD and chairman of PMC Bank are under arrest and the economic offences wing of the Mumbai Police is investigating the case.

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