Over 50 depositors of the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank were detained by Mumbai Police on Sunday after they protested outside the residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray here, police said. Later, Thackeray met a delegation of depositors of the troubled lender and assured that his government will take necessary steps to ensure justice to the bank’s customers.
Nearly 500 depositors of the troubled bank initially gathered outside an office of the RBI in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) but they later headed towards ‘Matoshree’, the residence of Thackeray in suburban Bandra, in a bid to meet him, a police official said. They assembled outside the gate of Thackeray’s residence, shouted slogans against the RBI and demanded that their delegation be allowed to meet the chief minister, the official said.
“More than 50 protesters, including some women, were detained and taken to Kherwadi and BKC police stations,” he said, adding they some of them were later let-off. Later, Thackeray met a delegation of PMC Bank depositors at his residence, heard their grievances and assured all help, an official release here said.
“The government will take necessary steps to ensure justice to the bank depositors. My government will do all it can to cooperate with you,” the CM told the delegation. One of the depositors, Preetpal Singh, said since the last three months, they have been posting messages on the prime minister’s twitter account to put forth their woes, but their miseries are yet to end. Another depositor Vijayan Kurup said they will not oppose if the government wants to merge the troubled lender with another bank.
“We only want our money back,” he added. State minister Jayant Patil on Thursday said the government will take up concerns of the PMC Bank’s depositors with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The state finance minister, who had previously suggested that the PMC Bank be merged with the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank, said he was told that linking of the two banks was not possible.
The PMC Bank, which has around 16 lakh depositors, was placed under an RBI administrator on September 23 for six months due to massive under-reporting of dud loans. The bank, over a long period of time, had given more than Rs 6,700 crore in loans to the Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), which is 73 per cent of its total advances, and which turned sour with a shift in the fortunes of the now bankrupt company.
Its total loans stand at around 9,000 crore and the deposits at over Rs 11,610 crore. There have been massive protests across city from the PMC Bank depositors following the RBI action. Twelve people, including top officials of the PMC Bank and HDIL, have so far been arrested by Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing in connection with the scam. At least eight depositors, who had high quantum of money stuck with the bank, died in the last couple of months, including one who committed suicide.