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Cash-stuck depositor dies of heart attack

From Jet to bank, adversity hits twice
PMC bank customers protest outside the Killa Court, where the accused of the bank scam were being produced, in Mumbai on Monday

PTI   |   Mumbai   |   Published 16.10.19, 01:05 AM

A 51-year-old man whose deposit of over Rs 90 lakh was stuck with the scam-hit Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank died of a heart attack on Monday, hours after taking part in a protest by bank customers who want their money back.

Mumbai resident Sanjay Gulati had lost his job at Jet Airways when the airline was grounded in April, his family said.

He also had a specially abled child to support.

Sanjay and his 80-year-old father, C.L. Gulati, had participated in the depositors’ protest in south Mumbai on Monday morning. He collapsed while having a late lunch at his house in suburban Oshiwara, his family said.

He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead. The cause of death was given as cardiac arrest.

“He had lost his job recently and was extremely stressed for the past few days after the bank crisis. He feared we would not get any of our money back,” wife Bindu Gulati told reporters on Tuesday.

Sanjay had been struggling to pay tuition fees for his son who needs special education and medical attention, she said.

Sanjay’s father said they had a deposit of over Rs 90 lakh with PMC Bank and a recurring deposit account for the children.

The Reserve Bank of India had last month appointed an administrator and capped withdrawals at Rs 1,000 following the discovery of an over Rs 4,000-crore scam at the bank, which has deposits of over Rs 11,000 crore.

On Monday evening — the day Sanjay died — the withdrawal cap had been hiked to Rs 40,000, with the RBI saying it would give relief to 77 per cent of the depositors.

Real estate firm HDIL allegedly accounted for 70 per cent of the bank’s Rs 9,000 crore advances.

According to Mumbai police’s economic offences wing (EOW), HDIL’s loans had turned into non-performing assets, but the bank management shielded this huge exposure from the RBI’s scrutiny.

The EOW has arrested four persons, including HDIL promoters and former top officials of the bank.

The bank’s depositors had confronted finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit here last week, seeking an assurance that their money was safe.

Manali Narkar, one of the agitating depositors, said Sanjay participated in the protest and had gone back home a dejected man. “What else can we do? We have nowhere to go to get our hard-earned money back, nor do we have any concrete assurances,” she said.

The depositors have planned a candlelight march on Tuesday evening in Sanjay’s memory. 


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