Mumbai: 71-yr-old, tainted by scam, acquitted by HC, fights for his pending dues

Borivli resident was accused of embezzlement of Dena Bank’s funds; the former employee wants the 50 per cent of his salary, which was withheld during his suspension

A 71-year-old resident of Borivli, Bhaskar Kapadia, has been fighting a battle with the bank where he put in a long tenure of service. Kapadia, who had joined Dena Bank’s Vile Parle branch as a clerk in 1964, has been asking for his pending dues after he was suspended from service for a few years for allegedly being involved in misappropriation of the bank’s funds.

Bhaskar Kapadia says that according to Indian Banks’ Association guidelines, if a suspension letter does not specify the reason for a fraud, then the person accused of having committed the fraud should be paid the remaining dues
Bhaskar Kapadia says that according to Indian Banks’ Association guidelines, if a suspension letter does not specify the reason for a fraud, then the person accused of having committed the fraud should be paid the remaining dues

Kapadia had joined Dena Bank on August 3, 1964 as a clerk in the currency department with a monthly salary of R 1,050. In 1978, he was promoted and became a Grade 1 employee of the bank, and was transferred to various other branches including Colaba, Zaveri Bazar and finally to the Nashik city branch. However, in 1979, Kapadia was suspended from service for allegedly being involved in a fund scam.

Suspension letter
While he was working at the Nashik branch, Kapadia received a suspension letter on October 25, 1979, stating that he was involved in misappropriation of a large amount of the bank’s money in collusion with then branch manager of the Umarkhadi (south Mumbai) branch.

“I was never involved in any scam and was dragged in purposely. The suspension letter did not clarify the details of the fraud that I was accused to have committed. After getting the suspension letter, I returned to my hometown Mumbai. The case was further sent to the sessions court for trial,” said Kapadia.

In September 1987, the sessions court gave a judgment discharging Kapadia from the charges framed against him. After the court’s decision, the bank issued a revocation of suspension order for Kapadia on September 7, 1988, asking him to join duty.

However, the revocation letter stated that Bhaskar would not be paid the remaining 50 per cent of the pay that was deducted from the time of his suspension. In 1988, the Dena Bank management further appealed in the Bombay High Court, who again asked the sessions court to look into the case.

On July 2, 2007 the High Court passed a judgment stating that the CBI had failed to establish charges framed against Kapadia, and he was acquitted in the case.

Dues still pending
Despite having been acquitted by the High Court, Kapadia said that he was never paid the remaining 50 per cent of his pay from the time of his suspension (from October 1979 to August 1988), which also includes nine yearly increments.

Kapadia told mid-day that as per the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) guidelines, if a suspension letter does not specify the reason for a fraud, then the person accused of having committed the fraud should be paid the remaining dues.

The IBA guideline states, “It may be stated that if the order is silent then it should be construed that increments fallen due during the period of suspension are to be released from the date the suspension is lifted.”

“I am asking for my lawful rights. In 2007, soon after the High Court also acquitted me from the case, in the same year, I wrote numerous letters to the general managers of the bank asking for financial aid to support my wife’s medical treatment as she was suffering from a heart ailment. However, no one paid heed to my need,” Kapadia added.

On April 17, 2011 Kapadia’s wife passed away. He retired in June 2003 after reaching the level of a Grade 2 employee. Speaking to mid-day his younger son Prashant said, “My father has been fighting since so many years. He is not asking for any special allowance. On a humanitarian basis the bank should clear my father’s dues.”

The other side
Requesting anonymity, a senior official from Dena bank told mid-day, “Kapadia has been issued a revocation letter saying that he will not be paid anything except the subsistence allowance which he has been paid. At the time of suspension we have mentioned how much the person will be paid.

However, our revocation letter has already mentioned the treatment of the pay. Kapadia’s claim is not admissible as per the guidelines. Further, the case is closed not on the merits of it but is closed on technical grounds, the court has acquitted him on the grounds that the CBI failed to prove the charges against him, and has not gone to the merits and demerits of the case while dismissing it.

As per IBA guidelines if the details of payments are not mentioned in the revocation letter, only then the person can claim the remaining amount.” Commenting on the bank’s reply, Kapadia said, “If the court has released me on technical basis then the company should have conducted a departmental enquiry and investigated the matter further.”

Profile
>> Bhaskar joined Dena Bank as a clerk in 1964
>> He was suspended in 1979 and reappointed in 1988 after the sessions court acquitted him in the case 
>> 50 per cent of his remaining pay, deducted during the time of suspension (Oct 1979-Aug 1988), has not been released by the bank.

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