Former PMC Bank director fifth to be arrested in fraud

The economic offences wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police on Wednesday arrested Surjit Singh Arora, one of the former directors of the fraud-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank. Arora, who runs a catering service in Bandra. He will be produced before a court today. This is the fifth arrest in the case.

Senior EOW officials said Arora, 65, had been named by former managing director of PMC Bank, Joy Thomas. During his interrogation, Thomas said Arora was among those who knew that money was being illegally advanced to Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) in the ₹ 4,355-crore fraud. The EOW also suspects Arora was a beneficiary and may have received money from one of HDIL’s subsidiaries. Arora, a resident of Antop Hill, went underground after the first round of arrests in the first week of October. “Arora had probably got wind of the police’s move. Hence, he had gone underground since the arrest of others. He was not staying at his residence and his phone was switched off. We traced his location and apprehended him in the afternoon,” said a senior EOW official.

Other directors of PMC Bank who are on the police’s radar are Daljit Singh Bal, Surjit Singh Narang, Jagdeesh Mukhey, Gurnam Singh Hothi, Trupti Bane, Parmeet Sodhi, Jaswinder Singh Banwait, Brij Bhishan Handa, Mukti Bavisi, Ompdakash Uppal and Rajneet Singh. Rajneet is the son of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, Sardar Tara Singh.

The EOW on Wednesday also questioned Yasmin Khan, 42, who was Thomas’s personal assistant in PMC Bank. Thomas married Khan in 2006, after assuming the name Junaid Khan and initially, without divorcing his first wife, who was initially unaware of the second marriage. Khan and Thomas own 11 flats and one shop in Pune. The police are investigating whether Thomas received any money from HDIL and if that money was used to buy these properties in Pune.

So far, the investigation has revealed that between 2013 and 2016, Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan – both promoters of HDIL – withdrew Rs 10 crore from PMC Bank, but no record of these cash withdrawals was maintained by the bank. Investigators are finding out if there were more such transactions.

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