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Punjab

PMC freeze hits gurdwaras ahead of Guru Nanak’s 550th anniv events

October 08, 2019 05:00 AM

COURTESY TOI OCT 8

TIMES NEWS NETWORK New Delhi: Ahead of the 550th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru, gurdwaras across Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra have been hit by the scam that has unfolded in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank with hundreds of crores of their deposits being frozen by the RBI which has set a withdrawal limit of Rs 25,000 on individual account holders for a period of six months. While the Enforcement Directorate continuing its searches in Maharashtra on Monday on some high profile clients of PMC Bank, president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Manjinder Singh Sirsa held a press conference and demanded that the RBI take over the bank’s operations and release the deposits of account holders. He told TOI that at least 15-16 gurdwara committees from Maharashtra had called him recounting their problems in arranging funds for the celebrations. ‘Gurdwaras in Maha have ₹100cr frozen in PMC Bank’ Gurdwaras in Maharashtra alone have deposits of more than Rs 100 crore in PMC Bank, which has now been frozen, and they are not able to withdraw with the limit imposed by the RBI,” said Sirsa, who is also a Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Delhi. Sirsa said though Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, which also maintained its accounts with PMC Bank, managed to withdraw a substantial amount before the RBI clampdown, around Rs 40-50 lakh of its money was still with the bank. The 550th Parkash Purab or the birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev is on November 12 and to mark the occasion, gurdwaras have organised massive ‘langars’ and festivities. The freeze on withdrawals has cast a shadow on the celebrations with many gurdwaras facing a financial problem. The Economic Offence Wing of Mumbai police had registered an FIR against PMC Bank officials and arrested its ex-chairman Waryam Singh, former MD Joy Thomas and Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), the defaulter real estate firm which had been extended more than twothirds of the over Rs 4,000 crore of loans given by the bank. The ED has found that several frauds were committed by PMC Bank officials to mask accounts of HDIL which had defaulted on payments. The agency has attached private jets and jewellery worth over Rs 60 crore of the Wadhawans and Rs 10 crore deposits of Waryam Singh while searches are continuing to identify other assets of the accused.

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