Srinagar: Above two kilos of gold ornaments deposited by clients as mortgage for loans have been stolen from the HDFC Bank’s Rajbagh branch in uptown Srinagar.
The report of the theft was registered with the police last year. So far, no arrests have been made.
Station House Officer Rajbagh, Ghulam Mohiudin, said that a case (58/2016) under Section 409 RPC is registered and police have questioned the bank’s staff. “The bank is conducting an internal inquiry into the theft. We have not arrested anyone so far. The case was registered on 12 November 2016,” he said.
The police officer said that three clients, in return for loans, had mortgaged 1346 grams, 721 grams and 217 grams of gold ornaments, valuing almost Rs 60 lakh (according to rough estimate of one gram@Rs 2,800).
The bank settled the cases with the two clients that had lost 721 grams and 217 grams. The third one, however, a businessman from Srinagar, has not agreed to settle the case.
The businessman took a loan of more than Rs 18 lakh from the HDFC Rajbagh branch in May 2016. The bank took in return 1346 grams of gold ornaments, roughly with a market value of Rs 40 lakh.
In October, the bank found an empty locker. Instead of reporting the theft to police, the bank sat over it and later registered the police case on November 12.
According to a source, the bank tried to hush the case by offering 10 percent ex-gratia over the stolen gold to the stubborn client. But he rejected the offer. “He might be seeking more,” a bank official speculated.
The gold-for-cash scheme has the ornaments valued by a goldsmith, and then they are sealed in the bank’s custody. A locker bin has two keys, held separately by two bank officials. Unless the keys are used simultaneously, the locker cannot be opened.
“We have fixed the responsibility (for the theft). It is now for police to investigate the case,” said a bank official, who was not authorised to speak to the media.
HDFC Bank’s Vice President, Corporate Communications, Rajeev Banerjee told Kashmir Reader that the bank followed rules and regulations. “The matter is being investigated. We will ensure necessary cooperation is extended to police,” he said.