The whir of the ATM machine sounded very reassuring for Jitesh Diwakar, a resident of Tonk in Rajasthan. But he was not prepared for what followed – an avalanche of cash for Diwakar who got Rs 70,000 in place of just Rs 3,500 he had typed in.
Diwakar was among several people who turned richer after a malfunctioning ATM rained cash on Tuesday evening at the Rajasthan town, about 80 km from capital Jaipur.
But he was the only person who chose to inform the Bank of Baroda about the malfunctioning cash-dispensing machine – all others before him went home with extra cash, thanking their lucky stars.
“I immediately called my father who arrived with my uncle and we informed the bank manager,” Diwakar said.
By the time bank officials shut down the ATM near the collector’s office, it had dispensed Rs 6.76 lakh. And 10-odd people are believed to have got excess cash when the ATM gave out 2000-rupee notes in place of 100-rupee-notes.
Tonk Harishankar Meena, chief manager of the bank’s collectorate circle, said 2000-rupee notes were loaded in the slot meant for 100-rupee notes, resulting in the malfunction.
Following the shock recall of high-value banknotes in November, banks have recalibrated two lakh-odd ATMs across the country to dispense the newly-designed Rs 2000 and Rs 500 notes. However, ATM glitches have been reported from several parts of the country over the past two months.
“Technically, Rs 2,000 notes cannot be loaded in the Rs 100 cassette as the sensors won’t accept it. That’s why we have called technical experts to investigate how this happened,” Meena said.
He said the bank will lodge a complaint with police against the people who took away the excess cash and that efforts were on to identify them.
“Out of all these people, only one person contacted and brought the matter to our notice. We have taken a back-up of the ATM machine (records) from which we will get information of the people who withdrew money in these two hours. After tracking them we will ask them to return the extra money,” said Meena.
“…Local shopkeepers told me that people coming to the ATM were suddenly leaving very happy… and smiling,” Meena told HT.