PMC bank scam: ED is taking no chances

Mumbai: The ED is not taking any chances with the security of ousted Managing Director of Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative bank, Joy Thomas, who is key to the massive fraud at the bank.

Highly placed EOW sources said that Thomas, who was arrested on Friday, has been kept separate from the other three arrested accused in the case -- HDIL promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhwa and former chairman of the bank Waryam Singh.

Thomas has been remanded to EOW custody till Oct 17.Sources said that while Thomas (58) is lodged in a lock-up at the Azad Maidan police station, the other three are in the crime branch lock-up at the police commissioner's compound at Crawford Market.

The call, sources said, has been taken keeping in mind Thomas’ threat perception. The ousted MD had voiced fears about threat to his life from the Wadhwans' during a press conference, and later in his media interviews given during his run from law.In a couple of interviews, Thomas has said that the Wadhwans had on several occasions intimidated him into concealing the lending to HDIL.

Even during his media briefing, goons allegedly sent by the Wadhwans were loitering outside the venue, Thomas had alleged. "Thomas has been at the helm of the bank's affairs since 1987 andremained its MD till the scam erupted last month.

He knows the nitty-gritty of the banks' finances, including transgressions of the other accused in the case. In fact, his disclosures will be crucial in determining the role of others in the case," sources said.

This makes Thomas a marked man and the other accused, the police apprehend, could stage an attack on the former with a view to destroying the evidence. Text messages made to Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW), Rajwardhan Sinha, pertaining to the development were not answered.

By Debasish Panigrahi

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