The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of the Centre, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi and the Reserve Bank of India on a public interest litigation seeking the removal of restrictions on cash withdrawals from the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank, PTI reported. The petitioner, social activist Bejon Kumar Misra, sought 100% insurance cover for customers’ money deposited in the bank.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar heard the matter and asked the respondents to file their reply by January 22, the next date of hearing, The Hindu reported. Misra had moved the Supreme Court with a plea for immediate protection of depositors. But the top court disposed of the plea, giving the petitioner liberty to approach the High Court.

At least five depositors of the bank have died of stress or by committing suicide since the scam came to light.

The Enforcement Directorate is investigating allegations that the bank did not report all non-performing assets, or bad loans, after providing funds to several companies. The scam is said to be worth Rs 4,355 crore. In September, the RBI imposed curbs on the bank, saying that depositors would not be allowed to withdraw more than Rs 1,000 from the bank for six months. The withdrawal limit was raised to Rs 25,000, and then to Rs 40,000 last month.

The police have arrested Housing Development Infrastructure Limited’s promoter Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan, PMC Bank’s former Chairperson Waryam Singh, and its Managing Director Joy Thomas in connection with the case. The Wadhawans allegedly created more than 21,000 fictitious accounts to hide loans from PMC Bank. They continued to default on the loans that the bank allegedly did not mention in its annual report.

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