October 4, 2019 / 2:48 PM / 15 days ago

Indian police arrest former MD Thomas of fraud-hit PMC Bank

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian police on Monday arrested Joy Thomas, the former managing director of Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC), which has been accused of creating fictitious accounts to hide loans, a spokesman for Mumbai Police said on Friday.

The PMC case has sparked renewed concerns about India’s banking sector, which has been rocked by a multi-billion dollar fraud at a state-run lender, the collapse of a major infrastructure lender, bad loan issues at state-run banks and a liquidity squeeze that has hit shadow lenders.

“He (Joy Thomas) has been arrested. Further enquiry going on,” Mumbai Police spokesperson Pranaya Ashok told Reuters.

Bank officials on Tuesday accused PMC Bank’s management of concealing non-performing assets and disbursing loans leading to a loss of at least 43.55 billion rupees ($617 million), adding that the bank camouflaged its financials.

The complaint named bank chairman Waryam Singh and Managing Director Thomas, along with other bank officials, and accused them of criminal breach of trust, forgery and falsification of records.

It also names bankrupt realty company Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd, along with its former senior executives Sarang Wadhwan and Rakesh Wadhwan, who were arrested on Thursday.

More than two dozen co-operative banks are now under RBI administration, but PMC Bank - with deposits of 116.2 billion rupees as of March 31 - is by far the largest.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; writing by Sudarshan Varadhan; editing by Jason Neely

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