PMC depositors can approach for withdrawal upto ₹1 lakh in emergencies, RBI tells court

‘Administrator can be contacted for money for medical treatment, marriage, education’

Published - November 20, 2019 01:18 am IST - Mumbai

Account holders in Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank protesting outside Bombay High Court premises on Tuesday.

Account holders in Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank protesting outside Bombay High Court premises on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank can approach the RBI-appointed administrator to withdraw up to ₹1 lakh from their account in case of emergencies.

A Division Bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and R.I. Chagla was hearing a bunch of petitions, challenging the withdrawal limit of ₹50,000 set by RBI, including one filed by a depositor Haresh Raisinghani and his daughter Tweesha, and Bhagwan Motwani. The plea mentions Ms. Raisinghani is engaged to be married in December 2019, while Mr. Motwani’s son has enrolled in a course and they are not able to arrange funds.

An affidavit filed in court by RBI on Tuesday stated, “RBI had constituted a high level committee, under the chairmanship of A. Ghosh, the then deputy governor of RBI, to enquire into the various aspects relating to frauds and malpractices in banks.”

The 13-page affidavit also mentions, “on September 19, 2019, RBI deputed a team to carry out Annual Financial Inspection of the bank and for a thorough scrutiny of HDIL accounts. It revealed that on account of the financial irregularities, the bank’s net worth has turned negative and deposit erosion was negative.”

The affidavit said, “To mitigate the hardship of depositors, RBI has enabled entertaining on merit any application for withdrawal beyond the stipulated amount on hardship grounds like medical treatment, marriage, education, livelihood, subject to a ceiling of ₹1 lakh on medical ground and ₹ 50,000 in all other cases.”

Senior Counsel Venkatesh Dhond appearing for the apex bank said any aggrieved depositor facing hardships can move the RBI appointed administrator for withdrawal up to₹1 lakh in case of marriage, medical treatment, education, livelihood and other hardships and ₹ 50,000 as a sub-ceiling.

The affidavit also added that the Economic Offences Wing is probing the scam and has arrested nine people till now out of which four are former PMC officials, two promoters of HDIL, two auditors. On November 16, EOW arrested Ranjeet Singh, PMC director who is also the son of the former BJP MLA, Sardar Tara Singh.

Advocate Pradnya Talekar appearing for one of the petitioner and depositor asked the court why should innocent depositors suffer just because some senior PMC bank officials had committed a crime. The bench remarked that depositors cannot say that their rights are superior to that of the bank’s.

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