The bank is responsible for an illegal transaction in any person’s account, the State Consumer Redressal Commission recently ruled, quashing the order of Mumbai District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum in a similar case.
The forum had in April held HDFC Bank responsible for the transfer of money from Nikhil Futane’s account and directed the bank to repay the money that Futane had lost.
The bank had appealed against the order.
The commission held that the bank was not obliged to wait for a response from the complainant to its email and SMS alerts regarding the withdrawal. “In these circumstances, drawing such an adverse inference and to hold that the bank was negligent vis-à-vis deficient in service is…a perverse appreciation of [a] piece of evidence of the forum.”
The commission held that Futane failed to establish that the bank was negligent in allowing the transfer of money or that any official of the bank had fraudulently helped in the transfer. “No deficiency in service on the part of the bank is established,” the commission held.
Futane, an employee of Qatar National Bank, had transferred Rs 4.60 lakh to his HDFC Bank account in October 2008. In November, Futane found that the entire amount had been withdrawn. Futane claimed that when he checked his account on the Internet, he found that the money had been transferred to accounts in Lucknow and Vijaywada in the name of someone called Shukla [first name not known] and Rajiv [second name not known] respectively.
Futane had also alleged that his complaint to the bank’s customer service centre was not heard. He approached the Mumbai police’s economic offences wing. The Santacruz police registered a case in January 2009.
The police found that Shukla had withdrawn the amount from Futane’s account, deposited some amount in his own account and gave some to a Nigerian. The police recovered Rs 70,500 and returned it to Futane.
Futane approached the consumer court saying he should get back the remaining money transferred from his account. Futane alleged that HDFC bank did not act on his complaint and did not secure his money.
The district consumer forum had directed the bank to pay Futane Rs 3,89,500 with 8% interest and compensate him with Rs 25,000 for the mental agony suffered and Rs 10,000 for legal costs incurred.