Complainant says series of transactions happened without his knowledge
The Andheri West branch of Bharat Co-operative Bank at Oshiwara on Tuesday. Pic/Anurag Ahire
The Amboli police have filed an FIR against two officials of the Bharat Co-operative Bank. A current account holder, Ajay Prusty, has accused bank officials of transferring funds to the tune of Rs 76 lakh to several other account holders without his knowledge. However, the officials named in the FIR and higher bank authorities have refuted the charges and alleged that the complainant’s account had turned into an NPA and the case has been filed with mala fide intentions to prevent recovery action by the bank.
The FIR was filed against Naveen Karkera, then-bank manager, Andheri West branch, and Chandrakant Kotian, then-assistant branch manager under Sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by banker) and 34 (criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). mid-day is in possession of the FIR and the complainant’s communications to the bank officials. Prusty, director of Frutech Agro Industries Pvt Ltd and proprietor of M/s Khushi Retail, has accused bank officials of diverting/transferring about Rs 76,36,164 from his account to nearly 14 different accounts between 2017 and 2019.
“I was unaware of the transfer of funds. It was only when my chartered accountant raised a red flag and refused to audit the books that I came to know about money being transferred,” Prusty told mid-day. Irked, the complainant rushed to the bank’s Andheri West branch where he holds the current account. “I asked for an explanation. Initially, the bank authorities claimed they were aware of the transactions and assured me they would be reversed. Later on, the bank officials refused to take the responsibility. I started following up with higher authorities of the bank and its management. But, no action was taken against the erring officials,” Prusty stated.
After running from pillar to post for nearly three years but receiving no relief, the complainant decided to lodge a police case against the bank and its officials. On April 29, Prusty lodged the FIR. “The way banks are not taking any action in the case against erring officials, I am of the opinion that my case is just the tip of the iceberg and it is a deep money-laundering scam. Since multiple transactions were done to different accounts and on different dates, I feel that it is a planned money-laundering exercise and not an error. Only a detailed probe by the investigating agency will be able to establish whether it was a planned practice adopted by the bank with the blessings of senior authorities or an error at the branch level,” the complainant said.
Prusty had borrowed money from the bank and the loan account has been marked as an NPA for non-payment of the dues. “I had kept the money in the bank to pay the EMI. Since funds from my account were diverted, I was not able to pay the EMI,” he stated.
The bank officials have refuted the charges, claiming that the allegations are false. Karkera said, “We have documents to prove that neither the bank nor its officials are not at fault. We have given them to the police too. The complainant has borrowed money from the bank. The loan account is turned into NPA. This is the real reason for the complainant making allegations against the bank and its officials.”
Kotian stated that they are cooperating with the investigating agency. “We have all the instruments furnished by the complainant. These documents are enough to show that the bank is not at fault and his allegations are baseless,” he said.
A senior bank official on the condition of anonymity, questioned the timing of the complaint. “The complaint is about transactions made four to five years back. Why was the complainant silent for so long? The complainant has borrowed a huge amount from the bank. Now that the loan account has turned into an NPA, false allegations are being levelled to avoid recovery action.”
The official further claimed that cheques were issued by the complainant and the bank has all the evidence to prove the same. “Internally we are looking into the complaints to find whether really there is anything wrong within the system. But, one thing is for sure: there is no merit to the case and the allegations were levelled with mala fide intentions,” the official stated.
Day in April FIR was lodged