Pune: State Bank of India’s (SBI) chairman and SBI Ghodnadi (Shirur) branch manager have been ordered by the Pune district consumer forum to pay Rs 13,000 compensation to a man whose mortgaged gold ornaments were auctioned without giving him a notice.
Prakash Savleram Durge of Nimone, Shirur, had taken a loan of Rs 1.99 lakh on September 10, 2013, and for that, he had pledged his gold ornaments. The loan was to be repaid in a year. However, he didn’t pay back the loan amount. On August 24, 2015, Durge went to the bank to enquire the due loan amount in his loan account as he wanted to close it by repaying the loan. He was told that amount of Rs 2.37 lakh was to be repaid by him till August 29, 2015.
The complainant agreed but on the next day, he received a telephonic message from the bank calling him to visit the branch on August 27. When the complainant went to the bank, he was told that the pledged golden ornaments had been auctioned.
According to the complainant, the bank told him to approach to the auction purchaser goldsmith. The goldsmith informed the complainant that he had melted the ornaments. The bank officer contacted the goldsmith on phone and informed him to give gold to the complainant.
Accordingly, the complainant purchased the gold for Rs three lakh. He contended that he sustained the loss of Rs one lakh
due to this.
“I had not received any letter or notice from the bank before the pledged ornaments were auctioned. I sought the information under Right to Information (RTI) Act wherein it was informed that the bank had issued a notice dated August 1, 2015 to him, but actually I had not received it,” Durge stated in his complaint.
Bank officials filed their written statement before the forum.
“The net weight of those ornaments was 101.2 gms. The loan was to be repaid in September 2014, but the complainant failed to repay the loan. A notice was given to him to repay the outstanding loan amount. The complainant visited the bank after this notice, but failed to repay the loan amount and assured to pay on August 25, 2015, but on that date, he did not turn up, therefore, the pledged ornaments had been auctioned. The complainant is bound by terms and conditions of the loan agreement. The complainant is the defaulter,” the bank stated.
However, the complainant submitted that under RTI he had received a copy of the notice which is not on the letterhead of the bank. “Also, there is no seal of bank thereon and below the signature, the name of the signatory is not given,” the complainant argued.
The forum observed that the bank officials have not given any explanation to this submission of the complainant.
The forum’s order further found that though the bank officials contended that they auctioned the ornaments as per the terms and conditions, no document is produced regarding those terms and conditions where under the bank got an authority to auction the pledged ornaments.
“On the contrary, the arrangement letter only states about the right of the bank to levy a higher rate of interest in the event of default in payment by the complainant. It also states that on default of the complainant, the bank was entitled to call up the full loan amount due with interest. It does not mention anything about the right to auction the ornaments. For these reasons, it is held that there is the deficiency in service by the bank,” the order states.