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PMC Bank Fraud: RBI raises withdrawal limit for depositors to Rs 40,000

Hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's discussion with the Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das, the central bank  on Monday revised the withdrawan limit for Punjab and Maharashtra Co-Operative Bank customers to Rs 40,000.

With the above relaxation, about 77% of the depositors of the bank will be able to withdraw their entire account balance, the RBI said. 

The decision was taken after reviewing the bank’s liquidity position and its ability to pay its depositors, it said. 

The RBI had on September 23 placed restrictions over account holders of PMC Bank after allegations of financial irregularities. The RBI then on October 03 incraesed the withdrawan limit Rs 25,000.

Earlier on Monday, Sitharaman said she is closely monitoring the developments at PMC Bank, and the RBI Governor has assured that customers' interest will be protected.

"The RBI governor has assured me that he will keep the interest of customers in mind, and at the earliest try resolve and resolve it...I had discussion with RBI Governor this afternoon and I am closely monitoring it," the Finance Minister said while addressing media after meeting heads of public sector banks (PSBs) in New Delhi. 

PMCB, which has 137 branches across Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, was started by a group of Sikh entrepreneurs in 1984 in Mumbai. 

"The financial position of the bank has been substantially impaired due to fraud perpetrated on it by certain persons. As soon as the matter came to the notice of Reserve Bank of India, action was taken in appointing an Administrator and ensuring that the bank’s available resources are protected and not misused or diverted," the RBI said in a press release on Monday. 

It also highlighted the ongoing probe by the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police in the alleged fraud of Rs 4,355 crore.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a case and is probing money laundering by the accused. 

Based on a complaint filed by the bank against its officials and borrowers associated with the fraud/financial irregularities in the bank and manipulation of its books of accounts, the EOW has started its investigations into the matter, the RBI said. 

Four people including former PMC Bank chairman Waryam Singh, former managing director Joy Thomas, and HDIL promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan are in police custody in connection with the bank fraud case.

Further, the RBI said, Forensic Auditors have been appointed by the Administrator of the bank to look into the related transactions. 

The Administrator and the 3 member Advisory Committee appointed by the RBI are working for speedier resolution of the various issues being faced by the bank in conducting its operations, it said. 

"The Reserve Bank is closely monitoring the developments and shall continue to take necessary steps in the interest of the depositors of the bank," it said in the release.