A clearing agent, who lost Rs 20 lakh in a matter of half an hour to cyber crime, has got back only a part of the amount after fighting a year-long battle. However, the police are yet to make any headway in the case and find out the culprits.
The Ballard Pier Metropolitan court recently ordered release of Rs4.89 lakh to Rajesh Rele from one of the banks, where the stolen money had been transferred in smaller amounts via net-banking. Rele has been asked to furnish a personal bond, which means that he is under the obligation of returning the money if any claimant comes forward and is notified as the rightful owner.
Gamdevi resident Rele is a partner in M/s Eastern Clearing and Forwarding Agency. To make payment towards custom duties he had activated the phone banking option, allowed by his bank in Fort.
On May 16, 2013, Rele received a missed call on his mobile phone. When he returned the call, he found that an unknown person was on the other side. Few hours later, Rele's mobile phone services were suspended. Concerned, he contacted his mobile operator. He was surprised to learn that his service had been deactivated on 'his' request.
Rele informed his mobile operator that he had not placed any request to deactivate his service. It was then he was asked to check whether his bank account was secure. To Rele's dismay, a total of Rs 20 lakh had been usurped and the money had been transferred to different accounts in bank in Delhi and Kolkata through netbanking.
He rushed to his bank and directed the accounts to be freezed. A Delhi account where Rs 7 lakh was transferred was with the same bank as his. Thus the amount was claimed within few days. However, the remaining money had been moved to accounts in private banks and to accounts of individuals.
Advocate P Runwal, who appeared for Rele, told the court that his though his client went to the cybercrime police station at Bandra Kurla Complex, they refused to entertain his complaint. Rele then approached the MRA marg police station, which a registered an FIR after 12 days.
"Till now there has been no headway in the investigation and the only assistance received from the police is that they wrote letters to the bank to freeze the accounts," Runwal informed the court.
Rele then started writing to banks regarding recovery of his money. A private bank that had received Rs4.89 lakh in the account of one of its customers from Rele's account asked him to get a court notice before it could share the client's details. Notices were then sent to the person, asking him to appear before the court.
After a hearing over months the court finally accepted Runwal's arguments that even after serving notice to the person, in whose account Rs4.89 lakh had been deposited, there was no response and thus the money should be released.