In yet another tragedy arising from troubles at Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC), an 83-year-old depositor of the crippled cooperative lender died on Friday (October 18), which the family attributed to their inability to arrange for funds to pay for a critical heart surgery.
Ironically the deceased, Murlidhar Dharra, had as much as ₹80 lakh in deposits with PMC Bank but could not withdraw the money due to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) curbs.
This is the fourth incidence of death of depositors of PMC Bank which has been under RBI curbs, including limits on cash withdrawals at ₹40,000 per depositor.
Dhara’s son claimed his father could not get a bypass surgery due to the unavailability of money ever since the PMC Bank scam was unearthed. The Dharra family had ₹80 lakh deposits in the bank, which has been placed under restrictions since September 23, and the family was unable to arrange the required resources for a heart surgery which doctors had recommended for Dharra, Prem, the son of the diseased said.
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It can be noted that under the RBI directions, exceptions can be made for medical emergencies, but it is not known immediately whether the bank refused a request from the family.
The RBI had initially put a cap of ₹1,000 on the deposit withdrawals and upped it to ₹40,000 in three moves. Hapless PMC depositors have been protesting across the country for getting their money back, ever since the bank was placed under restrictions.
The spate of deaths started with the death of the 51- year-old Sumeet Gulati on Tuesday, who had lost his job with Jet Airways after the airline was grounded, hours after attending a depositors protest, which was followed by the alleged suicide of Nivedita Jagtiani and then another Mulund resident, Fatto Punjabi.
All the depositors who died had high amount of money stuck in the bank, in the region of over ₹80 lakh each. The RBI said there was financial mismanagement at the bank in connivance with realty player HDIL, which was hidden from it for long.
The city police claimed it is a ₹4,355- crore scam and arrested five people in connection of the same, including the bank chairman, the managing director, and the promoters of HDIL.
(With inputs from agencies)