Friday, May 6, 2011

Cooperative Bank Duped a 71-year-old widow

Cooperative bank fined for taking widow for a ride

Tried To Recover Loan Amount Without Disbursing It

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on a cooperative bank and asked it to pay the amount to a 71-year-old widow, who was lured by bank authorities to avail of a loan.
Shree Bharat Cooperative Bank of Vadodara district proposed to offer a loan to Vilasben Kothari, who agreed to take it and executed a mortgage deed and signed a few other documents necessary for obtaining the loan. A few days later, she was informed that the loan was sanctioned; however, not a single penny was credited in her loan account.
After that, whenever the woman inquired, she was given an evasive reply by bank officials. In the mean time, without disbursing any amount towards the loan, the bank initiated proceedings under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, and enforced the equitable mortgage created by the widow. Then, the bank approached district magistrate, who passed orders in the bank’s favour for recovery of the loan amount.
However, the widow didn’t give up. She took the matter to court by filing a suit in Vadodara’s civil court against the bank and its office bearers. She claimed that the bank had lured her into availing the loan facility and defrauded her by making a show that the loan was sanctioned and making her execute an equitable mortgage in favour of the bank. But actually, she was duped by the bank; they had not released any loan amount.
When the civil court asked the bank authorities to produce evidence that the loan had been disbursed to the widow, they could not comply. Moreover, the bank approached the high court against the lower court’s order. After hearing the issue, a bench of chief justice S J Mukhopadhaya and justice J B Pardiwala dismissed the bank’s petition and directed it to pay Rs 15,000 to the widow. The court also observed that it is very clear that despite the directions by the civil court, the bank withheld the evidence. They acted maliciously and did not come before the high court with clean hands.

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