PMC Bank scam: Major relief for depositors as RBI asks Mumbai Police to release attached assets for auction

On Wednesday, depositors of the PMC Bank protested in Mumbai seeking an immediate payback of their dues from the troubled cooperative.

FP Staff October 31, 2019 09:41:02 IST
PMC Bank scam: Major relief for depositors as RBI asks Mumbai Police to release attached assets for auction

There is perhaps a ray of hope for the distressed bank account holders of PMC Bank.

In a move aimed at giving a huge relief to the PMC Bank account holders, the administrator appointed by the Reserve Bank has reportedly asked the Mumbai Police to release the seized assets in connection with the bank scam for initiating auction process, according to a report in The Economic Times.

The administrator reportedly asked the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police to release properties attached in the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank case. This is being done to facilitate auction at the earliest, according to the report.

The RBI's move comes as a major relief to thousands of aggrieved account holders of the troubled PMC Bank.

PMC Bank scam Major relief for depositors as RBI asks Mumbai Police to release attached assets for auction

Representational image. News18

After the central bank's demand, the Mumbai Police is expected to seek the permission of the court to hand over the properties that the EOW attached to the RBI administrator, the report said quoting two people with knowledge of the development.

PMC Bank depositors protest

On Wednesday, depositors of the PMC Bank protested in Mumbai seeking an immediate payback of their dues from the troubled cooperative.

The protest, which came a day after a similar agitation, also exposed cracks within the depositors, where two groups of leaders seem to have emerged.

Three of the protesting members were detained by the police and taken away.

"We have decided to go to the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police to seek officials and will continue with the protest," Gurjyot Singh Keer, one of the detained on Wednesday, said.

So far, five persons have been arrested in connection with the scam.

ED seizes HDIL assets

On 14 October, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had seized and identified assets worth Rs 3,830 crore, including private jets and a yacht belonging to the Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) group, in connection with its probe in the PMC Bank money laundering case, reported PTI.

The central agency said it is in the process of conducting the valuation of a number of properties of HDIL, its directors, promoters, PMC Bank officials and others as part of the investigation.

The assets, both immovable and movable, would be attached under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after valuation, it said.

"The total value of movable and immovable assets seized, frozen and identified by ED being the proceeds of crime, in this case, is more than Rs 3,830 crore which does not include value of 80 unencumbered properties around Mumbai.

High-end assets like ten cars, including Rolls Royce, Bentley and Range Rover, recovered from the residential premises of Rakesh Wadhawan, have been seized.

Two aircraft —Bombardier Challenger-300 VT and Falcon 2000 VT HDL, owned by Privilege Airways Private Limited -- had been frozen against operation by the agency.

HDIL owes around Rs 6,500 crore to the bank-as much as 73 percent of its total loan book—as per the whistleblower and also its suspended managing director (MD), Joy Thomas' admission to the RBI.

Arrests made in case

On 4 October, Thomas was arrested in connection with the alleged scam at the bank by the EOW of Mumbai Police.

The same day, the EOW had also arrested HDIL directors Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan in the case.

On 17 September this year, a whistleblower informed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of the mess at PMC Bank. Acting on it, on 23 September, the central bank placed PMC Bank under an administrator, suspended the management and also banned it from carrying regular banking activities.

On 23 September, the RBI superseded the board of PMC Bank and appointed Jai Bhagwan Bhoria as the administrator of the bank.

So far, the scam has claimed the lives of five depositors in Mumbai and Maharashtra after the irregularities came to the fore last month.

With inputs from agencies

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