Bank told to reinstate staff dismissed on graft charge
The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a bank employee, who was dismissed/removed from service on the charge of misappropriation of funds, by quashing the punishment and directing the State Bank of India (SBI) to reinstate him in service.
Justice D Hariparanthaman directed the SBI to reinstate the petitioner with 50 percent back wages with continuity in service and attendant benefits, while allowing a writ petition from S Chandrasekaran, last week.
While petitioner was working as a clerk in Ramanathapuram branch in 2004, a charge sheet was issued against him alleging that he had misappropriated Rs 10,000 belonging to a customer for his personal benefit. Pursuant to an enquiry, he was dismissed from service. On his appeal, the punishment was modified as removal from service. Thereafter, he approached the Tribunal, which held that his removal from service was justified. According to petitioner, on January 27, 2004, while he was busy in his work, a cover addressed to S Chandrasekar, SBI, Ramanathapuram branch was delivered to him by a courier service agent. The courier contained a foreign draft for Rs 10,000 favouring S Chandrasekar without any other enclosure. He was the only person available at the branch under the name of S Chandrasekar at that time.
Since he received a foreign remittance on an earlier occasion from his relative Kumaresan, who also assured through his letters to send further remittances, he presumed that the remittance was intended only for him. Thereafter he learnt from Kumaresan that he sent no such remittance. When he contacted the courier agent, he was informed that the cover was wrongly addressed. Soon, he arranged to remit back the amount to the correct beneficiary through the courier agent. The unintentional lapse was unfortunately misconstrued as an act of mala fide, he contended. Allowing the petition, the judge observed that CAT had not considered certain vital aspects including the deposition of petitioner’s relative Kumaresan.