The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to an urgent hearing on October 18 of a petition seeking directions to provide interim protective measures for insuring around 15 lakh people whose money is blocked in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank, PTI reported.

“Upon oral mentioning made by the petitioner-in-person seeking urgent listing of the matter, the registry is directed to list this matter on Friday, October 18, 2019, before an appropriate bench, subject to curing of defects,” the bench said.

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 scam is said to be worth Rs 4,355 crore. The Reserve Bank of India had earlier this month imposed restrictions on the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the bank. Deposit withdrawals have been capped at Rs 40,000 for six months.

On Wednesday, the matter was mentioned for urgent hearing before a bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai. The plea, filed by Delhi-based Bejon Kumar Misra, said the Centre and the RBI should be ordered to ensure complete insulation and insurance of the money deposited by people in cooperative banks, including nationalised banks. The petitioner said the Centre and RBI must provide 100% insurance coverage for the amount deposited.

The plea added that the government should be directed to set up a high-powered committee to look into the affairs of all cooperative banks. The petition also sought quashing of the RBI notifications restricting withdrawals from PMC Bank.

“Being aggrieved by financial sufferings of thousands of innocent depositors of PMC Co-operative bank, the question of accountability and propriety must be addressed to inspire the confidence of the crores of the people in the banking systems,” the plea said.

Three account holders of the PMC Bank have died in Mumbai in the last 24 hours. Two of the three deaths were due to heart attacks as relatives of the deceased said they were under “severe stress”, and another depositor allegedly committed suicide.

Former Jet Airways employee Sanjay Gulati, 51, died on Monday night, 52-year-old Fatommal Punjabi died of a heart attack after he collapsed in his shop at Sindhi Colony in the Mumbai’s Mulund area on Tuesday afternoon. Dr Yogita Bijlani, who moved to Mumbai from the United States last year, allegedly committed suicide.

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