ARCHITECT ASHISH Bhattacharya was shocked to learn that Rs 33,000 had been debited from his account in the Sadguru Nagrik Sahakari Bank. But bigger shock was in store for him.
When he approached the bank with the complaint of cheating, the bank management claimed the signature on the two cheques on which the money was withdrawn was his (Ashish’s) and hence nothing could be done about it. The shocked architect approached the Habibganj police but to no avail.
Bhattacharya, an architect consultant and owner of a firm ‘Designing Cell’ told the Hindustan Times that after he approached the bank situated next to his office, he was told that Sanjay Khare withdrew Rs 33000 on two cheques. Khare is an ex-employee of the architect’s firm.
“First of all, the signature on the two cheques is not mine and secondly, the amounts mentioned in words in the cheques are illegible. How the bank can clear such dubious cheques without crosschecking with me?” asked Bhattacharya.
He said he had his account with the bank for five years. He also has a high-value FDR with the bank. Though the signature on both the cheques dated June 13, 2006 (058319 & 058321) somewhat resembles that of Bhattacharya’s, the amounts mentioned in words are illegible.
“I’m a regular customer of the bank and the bank used to enquire me on petty issues but cleared the cheques issued on the same day and of high value without confirming even once,” he wondered.
Sanjay Khare who alleged to have forged Bhattacharya’s signature was sacked following a theft case. “He worked in my office for three years and one day I caught him stealing.”
Sanjay recently called Ashish with the request to take him back in the job but the architect refused. “As he was well awfare with my office, he must have stolen few foils from my cheque-book and used it to withdraw money from my account,” Ashish surmised.
When Hindustan Times spoke to the branch manager of Sadguru Nagrik Sahkari Bank, S Bhave, he said the signature was found original and consequently payment was made. “We can’t comment anything more on this,” he added.
Ironically, bank chairman Vilas Buchke had in a press conference on June 11 announced launching of a new scheme to provide better customer service at door-step.
Bhattacharya has lodged complain with banking ombudsman on this issue. The Reserve Bank of India through its “Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006’ has empowered the quasi-judicial body to take stringent measures against such bank frauds.
“With this kind of apathetic attitude and negligence of the bank, how far can we bank upon a bank,” lamented Bhattacharya.