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Depositor of PMC Bank Dies of Heart Attack after 'Failing to Withdraw Money', Fourth Such Death

Muralidhar Dhara, a Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank account holder, passed away today due to heart attack.

New Delhi: In yet another shocking incident, an account-holder with the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra (PMC) Bank died of a heart attack in Mumbai on Friday, making it the fourth death of a depositor over the last week.

Muralidhar Dhara, 83, died at his home in suburban Mulund earlier in the day for want of an urgent heart surgery, his son Prem said. His family attributed the death to their inability to arrange for funds to pay for a critical heart surgery.

Dhara had as much as Rs 80 lakh in deposits with the PMC Bank but could not withdraw the money due to the RBI curbs.

This is the fourth incidence of death of depositors of PMC Bank which has been under RBI curbs, including limits on cash withdrawals at Rs 40,000 per depositor. Earlier, two people died of cardiac arrests, and a doctor committed suicide.

Under the RBI directions, exceptions can be made for medical emergencies, but it is not known immediately whether the bank refused a request from the family. The RBI had initially put a cap of Rs 1,000 on the deposit withdrawals and upped it to Rs 40,000 in three moves.

Hapless PMC depositors have been protesting across the country for getting their money back ever since the bank was placed under restrictions.

In the earlier deaths, a 39-year-old doctor and an account-holder with the bank allegedly committed suicide at her residence in Mumbai's Versova area earlier this week.

The victim was identified as Dr Nivedita Bijlani and ended her life by taking an overdose of sleeping pills at her residence, according to the police.

Two other account-holders also died of heart attacks on Monday and Tuesday after being unable to withdraw their savings from the bank.

Fattomal Punjabi, who had an account with the bank's Mulund branch in Mumbai, died on Tuesday afternoon, while Sanjay Gulati of Oshiwara died a day earlier. Both depositors had taken part in protests over the last week.

Gulati had lost his job with Jet Airways after the airline was grounded in April following bankruptcy. He has a specially-abled son whose treatment requires over Rs 25,000 a month, and they were struggling to pay his tuition fees, their family members said.

Accompanied by his 80-year-old father, Gulati had participated in the depositors' protest in south Mumbai on Monday morning. Later, while having a late lunch at his house in suburban Oshiwara, he collapsed, his family said.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead. "He had lost his job and was extremely stressed for the last few days after the bank crisis. He feared we will not get any of our money back," wife Bindu Gulati said. Sanjay's father said they had a deposit of over Rs 90 lakh with the bank.

Punjabi, meanwhile, was on the way to the bank around noon on Tuesday when he suffered a massive heart attack. He was taken to the Gokul hospital, but was declared brought dead. Neighbours said he had Rs 8-10 lakh in his savings bank account and a couple of fixed deposits as well.

(With inputs from PTI)