A State Bank of India ATM in south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar dispensed fake Rs 2,000 notes, which appeared genuine at first glance but a closer look revealed a wealth of deliberate errors that suggested the hand of a hopeless prank.
A customer care executive of a call centre in Chhatarpur became the prankster’s victim when he withdrew Rs 8,000 — in denominations of 2,000 — from the SBI ATM on February 6 and found to his horror that four bills were issued by the “Children Bank of India” and “Bharatiya Manoranjan Bank”. Not the Reserve Bank of India, which is the issuing authority of cash in the country.
Furthermore, the notes carried obvious deviations such as “Guaranteed by the Children’s Government” in place of “Guaranteed by the Central Government”, “Churan lable” instead of the latent image, and a ‘PK’ logo took the place of the RBI seal.
The mistakes appeared deliberate as the notes “promise to pay the bearer two thousand coupons” and bore “serial number 000000”.
The man, identified as Rohith, called the police helpline and sub-inspector Saurabh Kumar, who arrived to help, tried to ascertain the mischief with his own debit card. He withdrew Rs 2,000 and a similar fake note came out of the machine.
The ATM was temporarily sealed thereafter and a case was registered.
The bank accused Mohd Isha, an employee of logistics and cash management company Brinks India Pvt Ltd, for the trouble, deputy commissioner of police Romil Baaniya said.
He has been asked to join the probe, but not arrested. Investigators suspect the entire incident was a prank.
“He was the sole custodian of the vault that contained these notes. So for now the focus is on him,” Baaniya said. “But our probe revealed that the notes were not counterfeit. They are similar to children’s toy money sold at toyshops.”
The private company was contracted to deliver cash at SBI ATMs across the national capital.
Police seized the bogus notes. Rohit was left with a little above Rs 400 in his bank account after the incident, while sub-inspector Kumar lost Rs 2,000 as he didn’t believe the complainant initially.
To prove Rohit wrong, he handed his debit card to a head constable to withdraw Rs 2,000 and stood confidently, watching over the fellow cop’s shoulder. Kumar was left regretting his decision.
A similar note was dished out by an SBI ATM in neighbouring Ghaziabad on January 24.
The victim at that time was 26-year-old Sidhant Shashikar, a network engineer with HCL Technologies. He tried to recover his lost money, but the bank manager allegedly dismissed his allegations, saying all notes are sorted before they are stacked into the ATM.
His aunt shot off a mail to SBI officials at firstname.lastname@example.org, but allegedly received no response.
Source: Hindustan Times