A 73-year- old woman, Bharti Sadarangani, died of cardiac arrest in Maharashtra’s Solapur on Sunday due to a heart attack allegedly caused by stress over the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank crisis. Her family claimed on Tuesday that Sadarangani was “under tremendous stress” as her family’s savings in the bank amounted to Rs 2.25 crore and her daughter was an account holder there.
Chandan Chotrani, Sadarangani’s son-in-law, told the media that she was healthy, and that there were no adverse health indicators. “My wife is in deep shock,” he said. Chotrani is an importer.
Sadarangani is the fifth PMC Bank account holder to have lost her life since it was put under regulatory restrictions by the Reserve Bank of India in September following a Rs 4355 crore fraud. The RBI had capped the withdrawal limit to ₹1,000 and subsequently increased it to ₹40,000 in stages after a public outcry.
The first depositor to die was former Jet Airways staffer Sanjay Gulati, 51, who had lost his job after the airline went bust in February this year. He held an account in Mumbai’s Oshiwara branch of the now-defunct bank and media reports suggested that he had Rs 90 lakh held up. His family claimed Gulati suffered a heart attack due to the stress caused by his inability to access funds. Though HT could not independently confirm whether the next two deaths were caused by the crisis, Fattomal Punjabi died of cardiac arrest, and another depositor, a medical professional, committed suicide. Her father told the police that she was suicidal and had recently relocated to India from the United States to be treated for clinical depression.
A fourth death was reported on October 18. Muralidhar Daara, 83, was a depositor in the bank’s Mulund branch, and had multiple accounts. He was a cardiac patient, and his family said they needed money for some medical procedures which they could not access. He passed away while the family was trying to raise funds for a bypass surgery.
PMC Bank’s officials had loaned 73% of the bank’s total loan book to the Mumbai-based Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL). Out of the Rs 4,355.46 crore of loans under the scanner, Rs 2,145.78 crore were transferred to accounts held by HDIL, once considered the third-largest realty developer in India.