Somaiya, depositors file police complaints against PMC Bank
Mumbai: Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya and several account holders of the crippled Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank filed police complaints on Thursday against top officials of the bank and HDIL for allegedly looting Rs 3,000 crore of the depositors, police said.
Somaiya went to Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and filed a written complaint, alleging that money of at least 9.12 lakh depositors of the PMC Bank was looted by its top management and real estate firm HDIL, he said.
Speaking to reporters outside the EOW office, Somaiya alleged that there was conspiracy between the PMC Bank management and HDIL's owner to loot the depositors, and sought a proper investigation in the matter.
He said the Reserve Bank of India's administrator should file a criminal complaint against officials concerned of the HDIL and PMC Bank, on which the RBI has imposed operational restrictions.
Somaiya also demanded a full-fledged forensic audit of the bank's transactions with HDIL.
"Out of Rs 8,000 crore advances, more than Rs 3,000 crore was given to HDIL and the group's benami companies. Even after the HDIL defaulted, the bank gave it hundreds of crores of loan without any proper documentation," he alleged.
"There should be a detailed investigation in the case after filing of offence of cheating and fraud against the top management of the bank and HDIL owner, he said.
While investigating the case, all efforts should be made towards the bank's survival, he added.
Earlier, a delegation of account-holders went to Sion police station in central Mumbai and submitted a complaint against the bank's top officials, including its chairman and all directors, alleging that they were involved in misappropriation of funds of the depositors.
They requested the police to take proper action against those named in their complaint and confiscate their passports, so that they are not able to escape from the country, a police official said.
They also sought an explanation from the bank's chairman and directors over alleged funds misappropriation.
"We have received a written application from account holders of the PMC Bank. Further action will be taken after examining the complaint," Sion police station's senior inspector Lalita Gaikwad said.
Around 50 customers of the bank also gathered outside its Sion branch and demanded that their money be returned and strict action be taken against the bank's top officials.
Vicky Lamba, a petrol pump owner who has an account with the bank's Sion branch, said, "We have submitted a written application to police and we will approach court also.
We want an FIR to be registered against top officials of the bank."
The police later reached the spot and dispersed the depositors, while asking them follow due process of law.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday imposed operational restrictions on the PMC Bank.
"The issue of the directions by the Reserve Bank should not, per se, be construed as cancellation of its banking licence. The bank will continue to undertake banking business with restrictions till further notice/instructions," the RBI said in a notification.
The restrictions will be in force for six months, the RBI said.
According to PMC Bank's website, the lender was awarded the scheduled status in 2000 and has a presence in multiple states.
On Wednesday, the bank tried to allay fears of the depositors and customers, saying it has enough liquidity to meet all liabilities and every penny of the public is secure.
Asserting that all its loans are fully secured, the management admitted that one large account - HDIL- is the sole reason for the present crisis.
Meanwhile, in a major relief to the hapless customers of crippled Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank, the Reserve Bank on Thursday increased cash withdrawal limit to Rs 10,000 per account-holder from Rs 1,000 set earlier over the next six months.
The regulator also said the relaxation in withdrawals will take care of over 60 percent of the customers of the cooperative bank focused on low-income customers.
"It has been decided to allow the depositors to withdraw a sum not exceeding Rs 10,000 (including Rs 1,000 already withdrawn) of the total balance held in every savings bank account or current account or any other deposit account," the RBI said.
The monetary authority said the relaxation has been granted with a view to reduce the hardships of depositors.
A customer can either withdraw Rs 10,000 in one go or can do it over a period of six months, the Reserve Bank said.
The RBI further said, the higher limit is subject to customer not having any liabilities with the bank by way of loans or surety for third-party loans or any other liens. "With the relaxation, more than 60 percent of the depositors of the bank will be able to withdraw their entire account balance," the central bank said.
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