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Madras High Court directs Indian Bank to return Rs. 55 Crore to Chennai Port Trust

The Madras High Court has directed Indian Bank, to return to the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) Rs. 55.19 crore, the balance of the Rs. 100.57 crore was deposited by the ChPT, which was saved from being fraudulently diverted. The CBI is probing the theft of the portion that was lost.

Justice R. Mahadevan on Monday directed that Rs. 55.19 crore be returned as it was saved due to freezing of a current account on 14 May 2020. He gave the order after hearing all parties, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The ChPT in the petition against Indian Bank, Koyambedu Branch, said that it had deposited about Rs. 100.57 crore in March 2020 by way of fixed deposits. The amount invested is not in dispute. However, the CHPT said. that it received an e-mail on 14 May 2020, from the bank, stating that the FD opened on 5 May 2020, for Rs. 62.08 crores was closed on May 8, 2020. The ChPT denied closing the account and intimated this to the bank on 14 May 2020. The next day, two alleged impersonators who visited the bank were caught by the bank officials and handed over to the local police.

'Fake account'

Subsequently, an internal probe conducted by the bank unfolded that the Rs. 100.57 crore deposited by ChPT was subsequently credited, by impersonation, to a fake account opened in the name of ChPT General Insurance Fund Account with Branch. the Koyambedu

On the basis of the complaint given by the Executive Director, Indian Bank, the CBI registered a case on 31 July 2020.

"At this stage, this Court is not inclined to go into the merits or otherwise of the contentions urged in this writ petition. At the same time, this Court is certain that the criminal conspiracy among the conspirators had gone deep into the abyss, and it requires a thorough probe touching the roots and various channels perpetrated by the offenders to achieve their evil design. It is also to be observed that due to the swift action of the fourth respondent Bank in freezing the fake account, a part of the booty to the tune of Rs. 55.19 crore could be retained intact," he said in the order.

The pending investigation by the CBI, if the available amount of Rs. 55.19 crore lying with the bank is directed to be transferred to the account of the petitioner, no prejudice will be caused to the bank or it will not in any manner operate as an embargo to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the ongoing probe, the order said.


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