It could give anybody a heart attack. But Urmila Yadav of Kanpur's Vikas Nagar survived to tell the tale.
A few days ago, she became one of the richest women to walk the earth when an amount of Rs 95,71,16,98,647 was credited to her State Bank of India (SBI) account, thanks to a strange procedure followed by the bank to get in touch with its customers.
Urmila, who works as a domestic help, had opened a savings account by depositing Rs 2000 with the SBI's UPSIDC branch in Vikas Nagar as a part of the central government's Jan Dhan Yojana. Two text messages from the bank made her sit up and gasp in disbelief.
While the first one said her account had been credited with Rs 9,99,999 the other showed that Rs 9.97 lakh had been deducted leaving a balance of Rs 2,000. She was obviously shocked as she had not made any such transaction.
"I was constantly asking myself as to how this Rs 10 lakh came and went," she said.But a bigger shock was awaiting her when she rushed to the bank with Lalta Prasad Tiwari, an account holder who helped her open hers with the bank. When her account was checked, there was a balance of Rs 95,71,16,98,647.14. Even the bank officials, who could not easily read or calculate the figure immediately, were stunned.
Rs 95,71,16,98,647 was credited to Urmila Yadav's SBI account.
VK Srivastava, a senior clerk who also officiates as manager, said it happened apparently because of a process undertaken to freeze a dormant account. Urmila's account was dormant for some time as she had not maintained the adequate balance required to keep an it going.
It was, according to the bank employees, a way to communicate to the account holder that he or she could no longer use the account. As a part of the process, the bank credited a made up figure and then deducted it.
But can they really do such a thing?
"Rules bar banks from crediting and debiting any sum without the consent of the account holder," says Abhishek Gupta, a chartered accountant.
"The bank is responsible for what has happened. What is the point in such a process?" he asked.
He said when if the account was opened with Rs 2,000, then the woman should not have received the messages about the credit of Rs 9.99 lakh and the one about a deduction of Rs 9.97 lakh in the first place.
"It needs to be investigated thoroughly," said Gupta.
For Urmila, all that matters is the actual amount that she used to open her account.
"I do not want to contest as to how it happened. My only worry is the Rs. 2000. That should be safe," said Urmila.
The bank has now activated her account, which is showing the correct balance of Rs. 2000.