PMC Bank: Ex-director gets interim anticipatory bail

Mumbai: Daljit Singh Bal, one of the former directors in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, whom the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) wants to arrest in connection with the Rs 4,355 crore scam in the bank, is learnt to have secured an interim anticipatory bail from a court in Punjab, where he had reportedly fled while evading arrest.

Sources privy to the investigation said that the court has granted him protection for a fortnight, following which he will have to surrender before the investigating agency and join the probe.

Earlier this month, a team from EOW, which had gone to Bal's residence for arresting him had drawn the blank as the family had escaped by then. EOW sleuths had learnt that Bal, along with his family, had fled to Punjab, ostensibly to evade his imminent arrest.

The same was the case with Gurunam Singh Hothi, another director of the bank who also did a vanishing act to dodge the police dragnet. Prior to that, both Hothi and Bal had written to the investigating agency, disassociating themselves from the scam in the bank.

However, police sources said that Bal in particular was close to another (former) director in the bank, Surjit Singh Arora, and was part of the committee that sanctioned loans in the bank. Arora had been arrested by the EOW on October 16 and is presently lodged in judicial custody at the Arthur Road prisons.

Arora was the fifth arrest in the case after the scam broke out in September this year when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took over the administration of the bank by dissolving the Board of Directors (BOD) in the multi-state cooperative bank. The EOW first arrested the

promoters of realty firm HDIL, father-son duo Rakesh and Sarang Wadhwan, for allegedly bringing the bank to the verge of bankruptcy through their unpaid loans to the tune of Rs 6,600 crore. Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Joy Thomas-- who had allegedly collaborated

with the Wadhwans in camouflaging the loans by creating ghost accounts that were not connected to the core banking solution- was the next to be arrested.

Waryam Singh, the former chairman of the bank, who had allegedly played a crucial role in furthering the scam had been arrested on October 6 following a fortnight-long search. All the accused have been booked for cheating, fraud, falsification of documents and criminal conspiracy.