P.P.Sudhakaran, S/o.Kunhambu Nair,
Kinathil, Udinur village, Po.Udinur, Kasaragod.Dt
Rep.by his power of attorney holder, P.P.Rajan, } Complainant
S/o.Kunhambu Nair, Kinathil, Po.Edachakkai,
Udinur Village, Hosdurg Taluk, Kasaragod.Dt.
( Adv. Santhosh Thomas, Kanhangad)
The Branch Manager, Federal Bank,
No.888B6, City Centre, Raja Road, Nileshwar, } Opposite party
(Adv. T.M.Jose, Kanhangad)
O R D E R
The complainant Sri.Sudhakaran is a Non Resident Indian. He deposited US $8000 in the Fedral Bank Nileshwar Branch in Foreign Currency Non Resident Fixed Deposit Scheme on 24-2-1999 for a period of six months initially from 24-02-1999 in 1999. The deposit was subsequently renewed from 24-02-99 to 24-08-1999. Thereafter it again renewed from 24-08-99 to 24-02-2000. It has thereafter renewed from time to time up to 24-02-2008. In the meanwhile to meet some urgent financial necessity complainant approached the opposite party while he was on leave and in Home Town to close the fixed deposit prematurely. The opposite party advised the complainant that the deposit will mature on 24-02-08 and the complainant will lose one year interest if the deposit is prematurely closed and advised him to avail a short term loan on the security of the fixed deposit. The opposite party offered loan up to 3.22 lakhs on the security of FD and told him that he has to pay only Rs.8,733/- towards interest for 2 months and as such he can earn more than Rs.13,267/- if he keeps the deposit up to maturity date. Therefore the complainant availed a loan of Rs.3,00,000/- after opening a NRO account on the understandings that he will close the FD on maturity on 24-02-2008 and clear the loan account. Accordingly on 24-02-08 complainant sent an e-mail message to opposite party followed by the telephone calls to opposite party to close the fixed deposit on maturity i.e. on 24-02-08 and to use the proceeds to settle his loan and to credit the balance amount in his NRE Account.
2. Complainant thereafter instructed his wife to collect the balance amount credited on his account i.e. Rs.1,35,000/- on 28-02-08. At that time it was told that Rs.1,14,000/- only is available in his account because of losing interest for a year from the fixed deposit since the deposit closed before the maturity date. It was also told to the wife of the complainant that the FD would mature only on 2-3-2008.
3. According to the complainant the opposite party has not intimated the difference of maturity date or loss to be suffered by the complainant at the time of closing the FD on 28-2-08. He was able to wait and would have waited for two more days if it was told specifically in advance about the maturity date. Complainant was acted on the advice of the opposite party at the time of his urgency in the month of December 2007 and availed loan not to lose interest on for one year due to premature closing of the FD account.
4. The complainant compelled to pay an interest of Rs.8733/- for the loan of Rs.3,00,000/- for two months and lost interest for one year for his FD amount because of the deficiency in service of the opposite party. The complainant had a total monetary loss of more than Rs.32,000/- besides mental agony. Hence complaint claiming Rs.32,000/- that he lost along with a compensation of Rs.25,000/-.
5. Opposite party contended that the account is closed by the complainant prematurely according to his own volition as he is in dire need of money. Eventhough the officers of the bank have told the wife of the complainant that they would lose interest if it is prematurely closed as the deposit will mature only on 2-3-2008, but the wife of the complainant insisted for the premature closure of the F.C.N.R. account and thereby they waived the interest for one year. Complainant and his wife were well aware about the maturity date of deposits and the loss of interest in case of premature closing. Hence there is no deficiency in service on their part.
6. The complainant has produced Exts A1 to A6 to substantiate his claim. On the side of opposite party the Branch manager of the opposite party Sri.K.P. Prabhakaran filed affidavit as DW1 and Exts B1 to B5 marked. DW1 was cross examined by the counsel for the opposite party. Both sides heard and the documents scrutinized.
7. According to complainant he was in dire need of money hence he approached opposite party Bank to close his account prematurely in December 2007 itself and as per the advice of the opposite party to avoid the loss of interest he availed a loan of Rs.3,00,000/- on the security of his FCNR account. In such a situation it is quite unbelievable that without waiting for 2 more days to attain the maturity date of FCNR account the complainant closed his account prematurely and there by waive his one year FD interest. Had it been so he would not have availed a loan in Dec 2007 and there by pay interest without any benefits. So the case of the opposite party that they told the wife of the complainant that interest for one year will lose if the F.D account is closed on 28-02-08 when they approached to close the account is untrue.
8. Moreover, As per Ext.A3 e-mail message dated 24-02-08 the complainant only requested to close his FCNR deposit on maturity date i.e. 24-02-2008 since according to him 24-02-2008 was the maturity date. It appears that he never insisted to close the account prematurely. Further in Ext.B5 reply e-mail the opposite party has stated that in the new FINACLE programme, they had to take up the whole proceeds with their international Banking Department and were unaware about the net amount of US dollar going to be credited in their U.S. dollar Account on closure of the FCNR deposit and hence they could not notice the due date of said deposit to advise the complainant in time and they were under the impression that the complainant was continuously insisting to close the FCNR Deposit because of his urgent need of money and On closure of the deposit only they also noticed the due date.
9. This statement itself shows that even the opposite party was not aware about the maturity date at the time of closing the FCNR account of the complainant.
10. In fact the so called FINACLE programme of the opposite party happened to be a finagle programme in the case of the complainant as the opposite party deviously appropriated the interest due to the complainant on the pretext of non-maturity of FCNR deposit apart from the collection of interest for the loan unnecessarily availed by the complainant at the instance of opposite party. Definitely the opposite party is liable to compensate the complainant for the deficient service rendered to him.
11. The complainant has to pay Rs.8733/- by way of interest for the loan he availed which yielded him no benefits. Further he lost one year interest for his FCNR deposit. That would be more than Rs.25,000/-. So the complainant had a total loss of more than Rs.32,000/-. But the complainant has limited his claim to Rs.32,000/- only. The opposite party is liable to pay the said amount to the complainant.
In the result the complaint is allowed and opposite party is directed to pay Rs.32,000/- to the complainant along with a cost of Rs.2,500/-. Time for compliance is limited to 30 days from the date of receipt of copy of order. Failing which opposite party shall pay interest @ 9% for the principal amount of Rs.32,000/- from the date of complaint till payment.