PMC Bank depositors in dire straits

Livelihoods lost: Account-holders of PMC Bank protesting in Mumbai on October 16, 2019.

Livelihoods lost: Account-holders of PMC Bank protesting in Mumbai on October 16, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Paul Noronha

Some unable to pay school fees, while others can’t meet medical expenses.

Nearly a month after the RBI clamped down on the operations of scam-hit PMC Bank, the depositors say their woes have only worsened, with some unable to pay school fees of their wards, while others finding it difficult to meet medical expenses.

Many fear that they might lose their lifetime earnings deposited in savings accounts, or in the form of fixed deposits.

Businessmen like M.A. Chaudhary complain that they are unable to pay salaries to their workers, or pay taxes or even the electricity bills after the cheques issued by the PMC Bank bounced.

So far, three depositors have lost their lives, apparently due to the crisis.

Established in 1984 in Sion in central Mumbai, the bank now has branches in six States but most of them are concentrated in the metropolises of Mumbai and Delhi.

On September 24, the bank’s Managing Director Joy Thomas sent an SMS to its depositors about the Reserve Bank of India imposing regulatory restrictions, capping the withdrawals up to ₹1,000 for six months. Since then, he has been arrested, along with the promoters of Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, in an alleged fraud case.

After protests from account holders, the RBI raised the withdrawal limit to ₹10,000 and then to ₹40,000 earlier this month.

However, depositors, who have parked lakhs and in some cases even crores in the bank, said the amount is too less even to meet monthly expenses. Tek Chand, 71, a retired government servant and a resident of Janakpuri in west Delhi, said his family has over ₹18 lakh deposited in the Tilak Nagar branch of the bank.

His wife has to undergo dialysis which costs him ₹10,000 per month and half his monthly pension goes into it. There are many like Mr. Chand whose source of sustenance is the interest they get from their fixed deposits.

Anuradha Sen, 61, a resident of Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, says she has a ₹15 lakh deposit in the bank. “My livelihood is dependent on the interest from it,” she says.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:06:16 PM |

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