Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank customers left stressed after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed withdrawal limits have lodged a complaint at a Mumbai police station, pointing out they have been cut off from their hard-earned money for no fault of theirs.
Simran, a domestic help who has Rs 70,000 in savings, said that if the government wanted people to keep their money in banks it needed to guarantee its safety.
"Government says if we keep the money at home that is black money and if we keep in bank it is for safety. What safety as we talking about? My Rs 70,000 is locked in," she said, adding, "They say will give only Rs 1,000. Where will I get the money now? I worked hard for my money".
Anuradha Sen, a retired teacher living in Delhi wanted the RBI to tell her how to survive on Rs 1,000 for six months.
"I have Rs 20 lakh in this bank account. I survive out of the interest from that. Now the bank is almost non-functional. I can only take Rs 1,000 in six months. The RBI should tell me how I can survive with just that much," she said, adding, "We can't bank on a Bank".
On Tuesday the RBI limited withdrawals to a sum not exceeding Rs 1,000 for six months in a move that led to panic and customers protesting outside PMC branches. There was some relief on Thursday with withdrawal limit raised to Rs 10,000; the time period remains the same - six months.
Angry customers are asking why the bank risked their finances while extending favours to a group.
The crisis began with the Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) defaulting on loans reported to be worth Rs 2,500 crore. The bank failed to mention this in its annual report and continued to extend loans despite the company being taken for insolvency.
"HDIL as a group has been associated with us for almost 30 years now. They have been paying for 30 years but these few years they have been finding it difficult. That is the only problem," Joy Thomas, the bank's Managing Director, told NDTV.
As investigations continue, links between the 12 directors on the PMC board and the ruling BJP in Maharashtra are emerging; one of the directors is S Rajneet Singh - a three-time director who is the son of MLA Sardar Tara Singh.
"Yes, I am (the) son of Tara Singh but this has nothing to do with the matter. This is all opposition accusations because of elections. Directors are not at fault here," Rajneet Singh told NDTV.
HDIL has yet to respond on the issue.