PMC Bank Fraud: Nirmala Sitharaman Meets Depositors After Facing Protest, Assures Regulations If Necessary
Nirmala Sitharaman speaking with a group of PMC Bank customers (Photo Credits: Twitter)

Mumbai, October 10: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the Punjab Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank crisis was not directly connected to her ministry. Nirmala Sitharaman, who faced angry protest by PMC Bank depositors gathered outside the BJP office where she was scheduled to hold a press conference, said that the government will bring regulations or amendments in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament to address the issue.

"If amendments are going to help us curb malpractices, help us in better regulating them, help us in better empowering the regulator itself - the RBI, we would like to do it," Sitharaman told the press conference. "Finance Ministry may have nothing to do with it (PMC bank matter) directly because RBI is the regulator. But from my side, I have asked the secretaries of my ministry to work with the Rural Development Ministry and Urban Development Ministry to study in detail as to what is happening," she added. Suspended PMC Bank MD Says Withdrawal Limit for Depositors Could Soon Be Rs 1 Lakh.

Prior to the media briefing, Sitharaman met a group of distressed customers of PMC Bank. The customers had gathered out the BJP office at Nariman Point. "I don't know what they're doing and don't care what they're doing. I want my money back. I won't be able to earn again whatever I have put in the bank," Krishna, a PMC Bank depositor, said. The Finance Minister was apparently forced to talk to the protesters after which she addressed the media.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had on September 24 barred PMC Bank from carrying out a majority of its routine business transactions for a six-month period. The central bank had also allowed depositors to withdraw only Rs 1,000 from their accounts, triggering panic among depositors. The action was taken after the central bank found certain irregularities in the bank, including under-reporting of NPAs and had put restrictions on fresh lending.

On September 26, the withdrawal limit for customers was raised to Rs 10,000. On October 3, the RBI again raised the withdrawal limit to Rs 25,000 from Rs 10,000. However, other restrictions such as granting or renewing loans and advances, making any investments, incurring any liability, including borrowal of funds or accepting fresh deposits, among others, without the prior written approval from RBI, were sustained.