Three Mumbai Depositors in Scam-Hit PMC Bank Die as Two Suffer Heart Attack, Doctor Commits Suicide
Nivedita Bijlani (39), a doctor staying with her father in Versova's Model Town area, consumed a heavy dose of sleeping pills on Monday night.
File photo of PMC bank depositors protesting outside Killa Court in Mumbai on Wednesday. (PTI)
Mumbai: A 39-year-old doctor who had an account with the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra (PMC) Bank allegedly committed suicide at her residence in the metropolis' Versova area, making it the third death of a depositor in the last two days.
Dr Nivedita Bijlani (39), who allegedly ended her life on Monday evening, had deposits of over Rs 1 crore with the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank. She took an overdose of sleeping pills at her residence in suburban Versova, police said on Tuesday.
The bank has been put under restrictions by the RBI following the discovery of a Rs 4,355 crore scam. Deposit withdrawals have been capped at Rs 40,000 over a six-month period, causing panic and distress among depositors.
However, the police also said that Bijlani, who had remarried recently, suffered from chronic depression, and had also tried to end her life earlier when she was in the US. No suicide note has been found, and further investigations are on, officials said.
Two account holders of the bank died of heart attack on Monday and Tuesday after being unable to withdraw their savings from the bank.
Fattomal Punjabi, who had an account with the PMC bank's Mulund branch, died on Tuesday afternoon, while Sanjay Gulati of Oshiwara died on Monday. Both depositors had taken part in protests over the last few days.
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, family members said.
Sanjay Gulati (top) and Fattomal Punjabi suffered heart attacks on Monday and Tuesday respectively.
Accompanied by his 80-year-old father, Sanjay 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 which declared him 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 told reporters. Sanjay's father said they had a deposit of over Rs 90 lakh with the bank.
Punjabi was on the way to the bank on Tuesday around 12:30pm 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 with the PMC bank as well.
Several account holders on Tuesday evening held a candlelit vigil for the victims.
"Many retired people have their accounts there, many are struggling. How do you run the house? People have deposits ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 2 crore stuck at PMC Bank. One of my friends was to undergo operation," a senior citizen participating in the vigil outside Gulati's home said on Tuesday evening.
The curbs on withdrawals have been in effect since three weeks now when fraud in loans at the bank was detected and the depositors say they are running out of options now. The increase in withdrawal limits, they say, is not sufficient.
Another PMC account holder Sachi Pestonji, an acquaintance of Gulati, has warned that this may just be the beginning of tragedies.
Real estate firm HDIL allegedly accounted for 70 per cent of the bank's Rs 9,000 crore advances. According to the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing, HDIL's loans turned Non-Performing Assets, but the bank management hid this from the RBI's scrutiny.
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