Several PNB customers have been affected during the last few years with frauds associated with unauthorized access to their Banking accounts. Out of these several customers have approached different forums such as the banking Ombudsman, Consumer Courts and the Adjudication officer for the redressal of grievances.

PNB has not been approaching the issue in a professional manner and redressing the grievances of the customers. In certain cases they have adopted litigation as a means of prolonging the agony of the customers.

It is however found recently that in one case the bank agreed to repay the amount of Rs 184980/- to its customer who had preferred a complaint with the banking Ombudsman in Mumbai.

It is not clear why in this case alone the Bank was willing to compromise while in certain other cases they have adopted several mean tactics for delaying the process of justice.

We call upon the bank to disclose why they settled the dispute in respect of letter of Banking Ombudsman, Maharashtra and their letter BO(M&G)/0742/COMP.GEN-5822(1)WT/09-10 dated 08.02.2010. In this case the Bank stated that “our Bank has taken a policy decision and as a special case we will be refunding Rs 184980/- against his undertaking”. Though it is mentioned as a matter of policy, in many other cases the Bank has taken the legal route to make the complainants languish in different Courts.

The number of Fraudulent withdrawal cases in PNB reported in the year 2009-2010 are so many that one can say that RBI has failed in its duty to protect the interests of Bank customers by not cancelling the Internet Banking license of PNB. At least one of the frauds reported was a single fraud of Rs 1.56 crores. Scores of fraudulent accounts have been opened in different branches of the bank and used regularly for fraudulent operations indicating a total failure of KYC. Yet RBI has not taken proper action against the Bank.

As a result the customers of the Bank are being subjected to high risks when they opt knowingly or unknowingly to use the Internet Banking services of the Bank.

In this context we would like to know the real reason why PNB opted to settle the fraudulent account mentioned above.

In particular we would like the bank to clarify

a) if it was a fact that in this instance, the involvement of one of the Bank employees became evident during the process of enquiry?

b) Is it also a fact that in respect of another instance of a fraud of Rs 1.5 crores in a branch in Delhi region, disciplinary action was initiated against one of the employees of the bank again for possible involvement in the fraud?

c) Is it also a fact that the Internet banking system with the Bank has several flaws and in one of the fraudulent instances unauthorised debits were found on the server side but not reflected in the customer’s side indicating that there was no reconciliation between the transactions recorded at different systems of the Bank in respect of the same account.

In the meantime, I advise all the customers of PNB every where other than Delhi to write a letter to their respective  branches and obtain a confirmation that “Any disputes arising out of my Banking relationship with your bank shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the place where the branch is licensed to operate only and not in Delhi”.

This has become necessary since the Bank is taking a stand when questioned about any fraudument withdrawal of money from the bank account of a customer that the dispute is subject to jurisdiction of Courts in Delhi only. The Chairman of the bank has refused to clarify their stand and RBI has also remained silent on a query in this regard.

Naavi

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