How Rs 1,000 became Rs 95 cr in an ATM
Vaibhav Pawar, a call center employee, got off work at his routine ti me at 3 am and was withdrawing money from an HDFC Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in Mazgaon when his account balance clocked in a whopping Rs 95,70,00,000, reports Karthik Balasubramanian.mumbai Updated: Oct 22, 2009 01:19 IST
What would you do if you saw Rs 95 crore in your bank account?
Especially if you are a 20-year-old living in a chawl, picking your way past overflowing gutters everyday to work and getting off work at 3 am?
Vaibhav Pawar, a call center employee, got off work at his routine ti me at 3 am and was withdrawing money from an HDFC Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in Mazgaon when his account balance clocked in a whopping Rs 95,70,00,000.
“I thought it was my account number,” he said, showing a crumpled receipt from that day. Pawar’s monthly salary is Rs 10,000 and he started working nine months ago. Still not believing his eyes, he withdrew Rs 600 and checked his balance.
It now showed a balance of Rs 75 crore. Reasoning that something was wrong with the ATM machine, Pawar tried other ATMs nearby. They all showed the same amount.
Pawar went back to Byculla and withdrew Rs 200 from the SBI ATM outside Byculla station. The balance now showed Rs 15 crore.
Other nearby ATMs corroborated the figure. Pawar tried to check up with the Punjab National Bank (where he has his account) about the unexpected largesse.
But the toll-free call center help-line he dialed offered no reply.
“It’s election time,” Pawar said. “Lot of money is transferred here and there right now. I imagined someone transferred money to my account by mistake,” he mused.
Did not want to take chances in case an accounts audit took place as his balance would take a lot of explaining.
The SEEPZ branch of the Punjab National Bank finally picked up his calls today.
“The Delhi server was misbehaving,” said a bank official requesting anonymity. “The account information was wrong, and Pawar could not have withdrawn the money even if he tried.”
The branch manager at SEEPZ has referred Pawar to the head office in Delhi.
Pawar is yet to take a look at his account balance today and he hopes it is back to showing the usual balance amount, about Rs 1,000.
But he will treasure those ATM receipts for a long, long time.