Not just account holders, even PMC's founding family left in the lurch

Updated: Oct 03, 2019, 12:39 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Surjit Singh Kochhar, whose elder brother Gurcharan was the founding chairman of PMC Bank, speaks on his current plight

Surjit Singh Kochhar
Surjit Singh Kochhar

It is not just account holders with the tanked Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank who have been left in the lurch, relatives of the bank's founders, too, have been left high and dry. Seventy-one-year-old Surjit Singh Kochhar, whose elder brother, the late Sardar Gurcharan Singh Kochhar, was one of its founders back in 1984, has Rs 40 lakh stuck in the bank.

Kockhar, a resident of Sion, had invested the money in a fixed deposit at the bank. He is now very worried for his grandson Kashish Singh, 19, who was about to get an education loan sanctioned for higher studies in Canada, but PMC Bank shut down days before that.

Speaking to mid-day, Darshanbir Kochhar, 42, Surjit Singh's son and Kashish's father, said, "For nearly two months, we have been running around completing the education loan formalities at the bank. We thought that the bank started by my uncle was indeed doing good service for the common man. But, all our hopes have come crashing after the bank was put under directives by RBI."

Darshanbir Kochhar, his mother Inderpal Kaul, father Surjit Kochhar, wife Vinny Kocchhar and son Kashish Singh
Darshanbir Kochhar, his mother Inderpal Kaul, father Surjit Kochhar, wife Vinny Kocchhar and son Kashish Singh

Darshanbir added, "Kashish was very excited about studying an advanced VFX design course in Canada, but this sudden change of events has upset him badly. I run a small-time vehicle spare parts business and it is not possible for us to arrange for funds at short notice."

When asked about his father Surjit Singh's fixed deposit, he said, "It is unfortunate that my father who had got the money from the sale of his shop, invested it in a PMC fixed deposit. He was looking for another shop, where he would have used the money, but he is completely heartbroken now."

What's worse, the building that the Kochhars live in, Shiv Sneh, is caught up in another problem as the extremely urgent repairs have started but funds for it are stuck in PMC Bank.

On Wednesday, more than 600 account holders with PMC Bank had a meeting at Gurunanak School, GTB, to discuss the future course of action. Amarjit Singh Kochhar, 57, son of founder chairman Sardar Gurcharan Singh Kochhar, said, "We were told at the meeting that Sardar Tara Singh would be moving a writ petition in the Bombay High Court on Thursday. We are uncertain about the time it would take to resolve the crisis, and if the account holders will get their money back."

He added, "It is saddening that the bank started by my father in 1984 with the core intent of providing financial assistance to taxi drivers and the poor has ended up like this. I blame PMC's present chairman and the entire board for the fiasco and everyone should be held accountable."

Shiv Sneh residents to take legal recourse

Residents of Shiv Sneh CHS in Sion held an emergency meeting late Tuesday, where it was decided that the society would call for a Special AGM on October 13 to discuss the next course of action. The society also decided that they would approach a lawyer and officially send a legal notice to PMC Bank with a copy to Wadala TT police station.

Unfortunately, most housing societies in Sion who hurriedly deposited PMC high-value cheques to their other bank accounts soon after the PMC crises came to light were disappointed when they learnt that the cheques bounced and they will now have to pay the cheque bouncing charges, too.

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