NRI Couple Files Case Against Mumbai Bank Officials Over Money Transfer
The Lagos-based Indian couple says that a sum of Rs 63 lakh was transferred from their account without their knowledge.
Two senior State Bank of India (SBI) officials have been summoned by a Mumbai court following a complaint by a Lagos-based Indian couple. The couple alleged that a sum of Rs 63 lakh was transferred from their SBI account without their knowledge.
The complaint, submitted to the Bandra metropolitan magistrate’s court last year, is seeking the charge of criminal breach of trust against Shailja Nadkarni, a manager with SBI’s foreign exchange and NRI division, and Nimbraj Mohalkar, manager of the bank’s branch on Linking Road, Bandra, Mumbai Mirror reported.
Chander Kalani, 64, and his wife Romi Kalani, 59, alleged that a fraudster misused their official email address to send a series of mails to the SBI, in which they requested the money to be wired to an account with British bank Barclays in London as there was a medical emergency.
The SBI officials, they allege, blindly believed the e-mails and approved the transfer without any sort of verification. The complaint claims that SBI officials violated Section 3 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act that requires banks to take special permission from the Reserve Bank of India before transferring funds overseas.
The Kalanis have maintained a Non-Resident External (NRE) savings account in the bank branch. The funds were transferred in 2013 and the two parties have already fought a case before the Maharashtra IT department, which ruled in favor of the Kalanis.
SBI later challenged the order in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal. A complaint was filed in the Bandra court last year and the summons against Mohalkar and Nadkarni were issued earlier in December this year. They have been asked to appear on Feb. 28, 2018.
The couple moved to Lagos, Nigeria, in 1982, but continued to maintain their account with SBI and have a home in Santacruz in Mumbai.
The couple visit Mumbai every few months. During one such trip in December 2013, Kalani went to the SBI branch to update his passbook and to collect an original fixed deposit receipt. He then learnt that the fixed deposit that was in his and his wife’s names, was prematurely closed after Rs 63 lakh was transferred from it to an overseas account.
“It’s obvious that a fraudster gained access to my email and started communicating with SBI,” he told Mumbai Mirror. “On the fraudster’s request, the bank tried to transfer $40,000 to the London account. The person later said the funds should be transferred in sterling pound.”
The spokesperson of SBI told the publication that the bank sent an A-2 form, mandatory for such transactions, to Kalani’s registered mail address, and that it received the signed form as an attachment from the mail address. The signature was also matched with that in the bank records.
Kalani, however, insists that the bank should have been more careful. “The bank could have called any of my relatives in India to find out if there was a medical emergency,” he said.