KOLKATA: NC Saha, a 56-year-old businessman who was among those who lost money in the ATM skimming fraud late last month, became the first to get the refund as (PNB) on Friday initiated the process to return money to the affected customers.

The refund process is likely to be followed by and . Three ATMs of these banks — one each at Gariahat, Mallick Baazar and Elgin Road — were fitted with skimmers.

Saha has an account with the Brabourne Road branch of PNB. Details of his account got stolen — and a fraudulent transaction amounting to Rs 5,000 were made thereafter — after he had used the compromised ATM of the same bank at Mallick Bazar. According to sources, the process to refund Saha’s lost money took less time as he had used the ATM of the same bank he has an account with. “If Saha had used an ATM of another bank, it would have taken more time as the settlement between two banks would have taken some time,” he explained.

On Friday, a visibly relieved Saha told TOI that he had never thought that he would get back the money so quickly. “The money was credited to my account around 1.30pm on Friday. My branch and the bank was very fast to react. I am very happy to get the money back,” he added.

A PNB official said the country’s second largest public sector lender had taken a decision to refund the money to customers as fast as possible. “We have approved the refund of 34 customers who were duped due to skimming at the Mallick Baazar ATM. After paying money to the affected customers, we shall apply for insurance claims,” he said.

According to PNB sources, customers of four branches — Brabourne Road, Park Street, Park Circus and Alipore — were affected. An official of the Park Circus branch said that it had got approval to compensate 10 of its customers so far. A total of 14 customers of the branch lost money between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000 over the last few days.

The official said that the circle office of PNB has issued instruction to all its affected branches to compensate the customers and reissue debit cards. According to him, PNB has already supplied all information to the police team, including footage of miscreants.

“Generally, an ATM stores video of up to 90 days. But in our case, footage of 120 days is stored. This has helped us to get pictures of the accused because the ATM was skimmed in April. “Our surveillance system is one of the best,” he added.

When ed, an official of Canara Bank said that it was also starting the process to refund money.

(Inputs from Tamaghna Banerjee)

Times View

The unwitting victims of have already gone through a lot of trauma for no fault of their own. We hope there will be a peaceful closure for all of them in the form of prompt payback.
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