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Bank asked to pay Rs 15.5 lakh to fraud victim

December 19, 2007 17:47 IST
A 71-year-old man, whose dream of starting a business with his life savings got shattered as a bank negligently transferred his money to a stranger, has now been provided relief with the National Consumer Commission asking the Punjab and Sind Bank to pay him Rs 15.5 lakh.

Uma Shankar Bhatt, a native of Kolkata, was forced to knock on the doors of the Commission after the bank refused to own up liability for the fraud by its employees, who had transferred his Rs 15 lakh to the account of their accomplice in June 1997.

According to the bank, they had acted in good faith and had transferred the money on the basis of a letter written and signed by Bhatt.

Bhatt, however, claimed before the Commission that he had written no such letter and the bank was utterly negligent in transferring the entire sum lying in his account hastily without a cheque or verifying his assent over it.

He further produced police records and court documents corroborating his claim that the bank employees and their accomplice, in whose account the money was transferred, were chargesheeted in connection with the case and Punjab and Sind Bank had also suspended the officers due to their illegal act.

Bhatt told the Commission that he had thought of starting a business with the sum but the bank's negligent act shattered his dream and he developed various ailments due to the agony.

Finding substance in his contentions, the Commission presided over by Justice M B Shah said that for the fraud committed by its employees, Punjab and Sind Bank had to reimburse him.

"If officers commit fraud and the bank is held not liable to reimburse the depositor/investor, then a large number of depositors would never be safe," it noted recently.

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