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Eight Sikhs on PMC board banned by community

The 8, including chairman Waryam Singh and vice-chairman Balbir Singh Kochhar, have been stripped of memberships of gurdwaras.

, Mumbai Mirror|
Updated: Oct 03, 2019, 01.01 PM IST
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The eight have also been barred from attending community gatherings, like the upcoming 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.
(This story originally appeared in on Oct 03, 2019)
Feeling betrayed by the sudden collapse of the Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, the city’s Sikh community has excommunicated eight members of its board of directors.

Chairman Waryam Singh, Vice-Chairman Balbir Singh Kochhar, directors Surjit Singh Narang, Daljit Singh Bal, Surjit Singh Arora, Rajneet Singh, Gurnam Singh Hothi and Jasvinder Singh Banwait, as well as their families have been stripped of their membership in gurdwaras and community-run trusts that operate 28 schools, four colleges and a hospital in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Gurdwaras across the country have been requested to take similar action. The eight have also been barred from attending community gatherings, like the upcoming 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.

At a meeting on Wednesday in Sion—presided over the Dadarbased Sri Guru Singh Sabha, the central body for Sikhs in the city— over 500 participants passed a resolution, demanding action against them for tarnishing the image of the community.

Ram Singh Rathor, finance secretary of Guru Singh Sabha, said more than 16 lakh Sikhs have been affected by the crisis. “They (the board of directors) have cheated their own people. They cannot be forgiven.”

The eight have also been barred from attending community gatherings, like the upcoming 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.

Sardar Manjit Singh Bhatti, president of Sion-based Guru Nanak Vidyak, which runs the community’s educational institutions, asserted that the eight no longer hold the right to call themselves members of the Sikh community. “Our Rs 12 crore is stuck in saving accounts and Rs 5.68 crore in fixed deposits. We have make to annual payments of around Rs 1crore towards salaries and other expenses. How will we now run the schools and colleges?”

Sardar Sarabjit Resham Singh Saini, chairman of Guru Nanak Queen Memorial Hospital Trust in Bandra, questioned the failure of the PMC Bank’s board to assuage depositors’ fears. “They have ruined the name of our community. They don’t deserve any sympathy.”

Satnam Singh, one of the participants of the meeting, said an 11-member team has been formed to seek legal redress and retrieve savings.

The RBI had on September 23 imposed a number of restrictions on the PMC Bank—including a freeze on payouts—for regulatory lapses, sending customers into a state of panic. Gross under-reporting of bad loans allegedly amounting to Rs 4,355 crore, including a loan of Rs 2,030 crore to the now bankrupt real estate company Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL), was said to be the major reason behind the punitive actions. Multiple reports have said that despite defaults by HDIL on repayments, the bank’s auditors did not classify the loan as a non-performing asset.


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