Court rejects bank's plea for FIR against its customers

A Punjab National Bank plea to lodge a criminal case against its two customers for allegedly taking out money from a third customer's account through an ATM card, wrongly issued to them, has been dismissed by a Delhi court.

District Judge and Additional Sessions Judge R K Gauba dismissed the PNB plea, made against Metropolitan Magistrate Ankit Singla's order, which too had dismissed it.

In its complaint, the bank had said Sobha Rani Pattnaik and her husband Sudhanshu Bhushan Pattnaik had opened a current account in its Lado Sarai branch in South Delhi on March 26.

It said the couple approached the bank on March 27 for issuance of ATM card in respect of their current account but the bank wrongly issued them the ATM of another customer M/s Shubhadra Store and "they withdrew Rs 10,68,077 from the ATM

account knowing fully well that it did not belong to them as they had only Rs 17,975 in their account."

The bank thus sought registration of the FIR against them for offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating and under other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

The magistrate, however, had held that basic requirement for the offence of cheating is that there should be prior inducement with dishonest intention.

"In the present case from the complaint there is no fact which can be deduced that accused number 1 (Sobha Rani) and 2 (Sudhanshu) induced the complainant in any manner for delivering them the ATM card of another customer," the magistrate had said.

The magistrate had held that though there was "prima facie misappropriation" by the couple, "the essential element (for the offence of criminal breach of trust) of entrusting property was missing as the bank inadvertently gave the ATM card of another customer to proposed accused."

The sessions court upheld the magistrate's order saying, "the magistrate has declined the prayer for directions to the police to investigate the matter for the reasons that entire evidence is within the reach of the complainant and no custodial interrogation or field investigation is necessary."

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