HC raps bank for withholding FD interest to Amritraj's kin

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Nationalized Canara Bank’s Guindy branch here to pay Rs 6.35 crores along with 12 per cent interest per annum till date, duly payable on maturity of some fixed deposits (FD) made with the Bank by Ashok Amritraj, kin of the Internationally renowned Tennis stars, the Amritraj brothers – Annad and Vijay-.

Ashok, in August 2010, had deposited Rs 6.35 crores with the Bank as seven FDs’, but found that his amount on maturity was withheld later. Admitting Ashok’s ‘writ of mandamus’, the Court rapped the Nationalized Bank for some of its officials “acting negligently with malafide intention” to “defraud” the petitioner by paying a part of the FD amount to a “third party illegally”.

In his 41-page order, Justice N Kirubakaran, held the Bank responsible for grave procedural lapses in paying part of the FD amount to a “stranger illegally”, by pre-closing some FD receipts “without proper authorization from the depositor”, more so when the amount was so huge.

Observing that the Bank’s conduct in this instance “is not above board”- a CBI enquiry on a complaint by the Bank is also pending-, the Judge also slammed an exemplary cost of Rs 50,000 as a “deterrent measure” on the Bank for not placing the facts properly before the Court. The Bank has to pay that exemplary cost to the ‘Chief Justice Relief Fund’.

“If this happens to the kin of a celebrity, a world famous tennis player, what will be the fate of lay depositors?” the judge asked.

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