Taxi driver Balwinder Singh was surprised beyond words when he woke up on November 4 to discover that a sum of Rs 98,05,95,12,231 had been credited into his State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) account. That’s a little less than Rs 9,806 crore! Or, a little over Rs 98 billion. Close to Flipkart’s revenue for the last fiscal!
But his celebration over possibly the biggest credit entry in an individual’s bank account in the state, however, ended before it could even begin. The money was debited from Singh’s account the very next day.
“I made many rounds of the bank, but nobody listened to me. Instead they kept my passbook with them on November 7, and issued a new passbook without the gigantic entry,” said Singh. “I had opened the account under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). My balance usually is around Rs 3,000,” he added.
Branch manager Ravinder Kumar refused to divulge any details. “An investigation by income tax (I-T) officials is on,” he said.
Lead bank manager Sandeep Garg, however, had quite a simple explanation for the freak occurrence. “The account holder happens to be a designated vendor for the bank. While passing a credit entry of Rs 200, an assistant manager (accounts) wrongly inserted the bank’s 11-digit internal Banking General Ledger account number in the amount column. The mistake was noticed the next day, following which the entry was reversed,” he said.
Deputy commissioner Bhupinder Singh Rai confirmed the matter. An official said there was no doubt that the bank officials had acted irresponsibly on several counts. “Instead of telling the account holder themselves, they did even attend to him when he visited the branch,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
A team of income tax staff from Barnala, Sangrur and Patiala led by assistant commissioner Pritpal Singh carried out the investigation till midnight.