SrinagarState Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked J&K Bank chairman to hold an inquiry into over Rs 42 lakhs fraud and forgery allegedly committed by its officials.
The directions was passed by the commission headed by its President Justice (retd) Sunil Hali after ordering the bank to transfer Rs 42,69,763 (rupees forty two lakhs sixty nine thousand seven hundred sixty three only) to a Srinagar businessmans account. The Commission also awarded as Rs. 15 lakh as compensation for tremendous mental agony and loss of business suffered by him besides asked the bank to pay 12% interest per annum from the date of filing of the complaint by the businessman.
Before parting with the judgment, it is a case of unique nature where with open eyes the bank officials have committed the fraud and forgery which is a case of gross deficiency of service unmindful of the consequences. Not only this, they have harassed the complainant by initiating recovery proceedings against him being fully aware that default in the cash credit account was on account of the illegal act committed by the bank, the commission said. We are surprised that the bank authorities have not taken any action against the defaulting officers even though more than five years have elapsed.
The banks are the custodian of the money which belongs to the public, the commission said, underling that affecting such sham transactions results in people losing confidence in the banking system.
An appropriate direction in this behalf could have been issued for registration of a FIR for taking cognizance against the erring bank officials but we constrain ourselves from doing so and we hope that the Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Bank will take cognizance of the matter. It is directed that the Chairman of the bank shall appoint an inquiry headed by a General Manager of the Rank, who shall identify the officials, who indulged in the sham and fraudulent transactions and proceed against them. The inquiry be initiated within a period of three months from the date copy of this order is served on the CEO/Chairman of the bank. In case the needful is not done within the said period, we direct that a FIR be lodged by the bank against the erring bank officials who have committed this fraud, the commission added.
The petition was filed Sheikh Imran Farooq alleging that the there were unauthorized transaction to the tune of Rs 42,69,763 from his account. Farooq said he never authorized transactions, as a result of which his cash credit account has been diverted to a purpose other than against which the loan facility was sanctioned in his favour for Rs.60 lakhs.
The bank said that the amount was transferred into the loan account of his brother, who had a running loan account with the bank at Branch Unit, Bhogal, Delhi as he stood as a guarantor. This argument per-se cannot sustain. Even if the complainant (Farooq) had stood as a guarantor, that by in itself did not authorize the bank to recover this amount from him unless other security was furnished by the defaulter, the commission said and the bank has allowed transaction on forged documents. The commission however left it open for the bank to recover the money from the account of businessmans brother.
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