A teacher in India got the shock of his life when he checked his bank account online and found 9.8 billion dollars (490 billion rupees). Parijat Saha expected his balance to be 200 dollars, but he could not believe his eyes when a check at an ATM confirmed his billionaire status, on paper at least.
The honest man rang the State Bank of India (SBI) to point out the error. Red-faced bank officials would not comment, but sources claim that the funds were "uncleared" and he could not have withdrawn the money if he had tried.
Saha's monthly salary as a school teacher in the eastern state of West Bengal is 35,000 rupees (700 dollars). His account balance of 9.8 billion dolars is closer to India's annual education budget of 11.5 billion dollars.
"On Sunday evening, when I was checking my savings account balance on the internet, I was expecting an amount of a little more than 10,000 rupees (200 dollars)," The BBC quoted Saha, who lives in the town of Balurghat in South Dinajpur district as saying.
"I called up a friend in the bank and joked, maybe money is overflowing in your bank, that's why your system has remitted so much money into my account," he said. The government-run bank with the motto "Safe Banking with SBI", has not explained what happened.
Subhashish Karmakar, chief manager of the bank's branch in Balurghat, declined to speak about the source of the funds or how the money got into Saha's account. "I have been specifically asked not to comment on this issue," Karmakar said.
The bank's regional headquarters in Calcutta and national headquarters in Mumbai have been alerted and officials are trying to figure out what went wrong, sources in the bank revealed. Saha said that he has managed to withdraw the 200 dollars from his account that belonged to him.
"Even though I got my money back, the account still holds the billions of dollars as uncleared amount. "I don't know how long I'll have to keep that astronomical figure in my account," he added.