Fine on bank in ATM case

The Telegraph

Kalimpong, Nov. 26: The Darjeeling district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed the Kalimpong branch of the State Bank of India to pay a compensation of Rs 4,000 to its customer, Bijay Kumar Baraily, in an ATM fraud case.

The president-in-charge of the forum, Ashok Biswakarma and member Sujata Agarwal, in their ruling in Darjeeling yesterday also asked the bank to pay an additional Rs 500 as litigation cost to Baraily. The bank has been given 30 days’ time to make the payment.

Baraily’s namesake had withdrawn a little over Rs 1.02 lakh from his savings account in May this year by using the ATM card that the bank erroneously delivered to him.

Once the fraud came to light, Baraily approached the bank for reimbursement of the amount, but there was no sign of prompt action. It was only on November 10 that the bank credited the money and an additional Rs 4,764 as interest.

In its ruling, the forum rejected the bank’s contention that the ATM card was provided to Baraily after he opted for it. “The opposite party (read bank) has failed to produce any application from the complainant showing his willingness to avail (of) the ATM facility,” the forum noted.

Baraily, a former jawan of the Eastern Frontier Rifles, said he was thankful to the Kalimpong Consumer Association for helping him fight the case. He had opened the savings account in January this year with a deposit of Rs 1,500. After a few months, he deposited his entire retirement benefits of about Rs 4 lakh in the account. On May 13, when Baraily updated his passbook he found a shortage of over Rs 1 lakh. The money had been withdrawn through an ATM card by one Robin Baraily and two of his associates. All three were arrested, but are out on bail.

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