Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das had assured her he would keep the interests of the customers in mind while trying to resolve the crisis in Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank, ANI reported. Sitharaman said she spoke to the central bank governor on Monday afternoon.
“You also know that the Enforcement Directorate has confiscated quite a lot of properties, and those of course will have to go through the process of the court, the judiciary, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and so on,” Sitharaman told reporters. “The government has been on its toes in terms of bringing the assets of these promoters of the bank, and making sure the process will not suffer for want of enough assets.”
Sitharaman said she appealed to the governor to expedite payments to the bank’s customers.
The Enforcement Directorate is looking into allegations that the bank did not report all non-performing assets, or bad loans, after providing funds to a number of companies. The total amount of such loans is estimated to be between Rs 2,000 crore and Rs 2,500 crore.
Last month, the RBI had imposed restrictions and said depositors would not be allowed to withdraw more than Rs 1,000 from the bank for six months. The central bank also said PMC Bank would not be allowed to grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment, incur any liability including borrowal of funds. A few days later it increased the withdrawal limit for bank customers to Rs 25,000.
On October 10, Sitharaman said the government would consider amending laws to curb malpractices at cooperative banks such as PMC Bank. She made the announcement after meeting angry depositors of the bank in Mumbai.
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