“I have not been able to pay my daughter’s college fees as I am unable to access my funds,” said Shazamani Akthar, who was among the scores of account holders gathered at the Amanath Co-operative Bank premises on Tuesday.
Ms. Akthar was cursing her fate as her lifetime savings of Rs. 35 lakh are now locked in the bank and she was unable to pay the fees of her daughter studying medicine.
The bank is mired in a controversy over financial irregularities. The Reserve Bank of India has imposed restriction on depositors against withdrawing more than Rs. 1,000 within a period of six months.
Similiarly, Syed Iqbal, an engineer with the Indian Railways, who had saved more than Rs. 20 lakh in the bank, said he too was unable to withdraw more than Rs. 500.
The bank, which came into being in January 1977, gradually expanded its operations throughout the State with 16 branches, including 12 in Bangalore, besides one each in Belgaum, Mysore, Gulbarga and Mangalore. Presently, there are more than two lakh account holders, most of whom are small savers from the Muslim community.
On Tuesday, bank chairman Naseer Ahmed sought to escape the wrath of scores of account holders like Ms Akthar and Mr Iqbal demanding their deposits back by assuring to auction the properties of the bank.
The properties, which the bank proposes to auction to tide over the crisis, are believed to have been picked up by the bank a couple of years ago.
However, when the bank realised that the property was under litigation, it tried to recover its “wrong” investment by proposing to develop a residential layout on the 8 acres of land on Bannerghatta Road and offering sites to its 419 staff members through loans advanced by the bank, a source in the bank told The Hindu.
But, the bank, which sanctioned a loan of Rs 5 lakh to some of the staff members coming forward to buy the site, diverted the funds to rectify the financial irregularities, the source added.