SBI sluggish over refund to jawan who reported fraud

Prateek Goyal
Monday, 15 January 2018

Bank’s Siwan branch is acting contrary to RBI rules

Pune: An Army jawan from Khadki has been running from pillar to post to recover Rs 87,500, which was siphoned off from his account by unknown fraudsters from an ATM in Bengaluru.

Chandan Kumar Singh, a sepoy of The Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, posted at 512 Army House Workshop in Khadki, has alleged that despite reporting the matter to the bank, State Bank of India (SBI), within three days of the incident, it is not ready to shoulder responsibly and has asked him to sort out the issue on his own.

However, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines state that a customer will be compensated from the bank if he reports the fraud within three working days. However, officials at SBI’s Siwan branch in Bihar, where Singh has his account, are not paying heed to his complaint. 

Reporting the matter
Singh, who was in Siwan during the incident, said, “Transactions were done from an ATM centre in Bengaluru on three consecutive days of December 7, 8 and 9. 

“I hadn’t checked the messages (on phone) on the 7th and 8th, but on the evening of December 9, I saw a text message mentioning that Rs 87,500 has been withdrawn from my account. I immediately reported this. I then went to the bank and informed them about the fraud. However, they told me that they cannot assist me in the matter and asked me to sort out the issue on my own.”

SBI official’s response
Singh revealed that a bank official, Manoj Kumar, told him that he (Kumar) is there to do business and not assist people who lost their money in frauds. “He further told me that I must have committed some mistake, which has led to it,” he added. 

Singh said that he was saving the money in his account to buy a plot in Lucknow, but has lost all his savings because of the fraud. He said, “I am just a soldier in the Army and before coming to Pune, I was posted in Kargil. I was saving the money for more than a year. It’s been a month and I am trying hard, but have not received appropriate help from the bank.”

RBI guidelines
It is significant to note that as per RBI guidelines, a customer will not be held responsible for unauthorised electronic banking transactions frauds and will be entitled for ‘zero liability’ policy in the event of ‘Contributory fraud/ negligence/deficiency on the part of the bank (irrespective of whether or not the transaction is reported by the customer) and third party breach where the deficiency lies neither with the bank nor with the customer but lies elsewhere in the system, and the customer notifies the bank within three working days of receiving the communication from the bank regarding the unauthorised transaction’.

Compensation to victim
RBI guidelines also mention ‘On being notified by the customer, the bank shall credit (shadow reversal) the amount involved in the unauthorised electronic transaction to the customer’s account within 10 working days from the date of such notification by the customer (without waiting for settlement of insurance claim, if any). Banks may also at their discretion decide to waive off any customer liability in case of unauthorised electronic banking transactions even in cases of customer negligence. The credit shall be value dated to be as of the date of the unauthorised transaction’.

Siwan SBI’s response
When contacted, Manoj Kumar, Chief Manager of SBI Bank in Siwan, said, “The bank cannot take responsibility for each and everyone approaching us regarding unauthorised electronic transaction fraud. I don’t know to what extent we should go to help them. However, I have forwarded Singh’s application to the management and now it’s in their hands. He himself needs to represent that he has not done anything wrong related to information breach.”

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