ICICI Bank "reluctant" to give details of multiple, fixed deposit accounts closed in 2006 without holder's knowledge

Bharati Sinha, a Delhi-based journalist, earlier with the India Today group, writes on her Facebook timeline on how she is being harassed by ICICI Bank in Delhi. We reproduce the text:
I am an extremely private person and use Facebook strictly as a public platform. I have never used smartphone and am only on the public platform of Facebook. I have used smart phone only for a few months early last year, to know and see how it works.
After almost a full year of running around and investigating the unexplained reasons for very powerful forces trying to ruin my reputation, my financial standing, my credibility, my health, I am coming across some answers. However, each answer is leading to more questions.
Recently, I have come to know that multiple accounts and fixed deposits were opened in my name and against my PAN number AAYPS9407R in ICICI Bank as far back as 2001. I had a salary account (Savings A/C 000701065065) with ICICI Bank’s Phelps Building, A Block, Connaught Place branch. I was then working as Group Chief of Bureau with India Today Group and they were operating employees’ salaries through that branch.
When I went to the branch office on 17th April to get information, gave my PAN number at the counter and asked for my account/s, the look on face of the counter executive told me there was something big going on there. When persuasion did not work, I threatened a police case against them, I got the information that fixed deposits bearing numbers 000715326558, 000715711067, 000715657003, 00071457174, 000715673810, 000714123220 were opened in my name, in joint names with my elder sister Arti Chowdhury and younger sister Pushpa Sinha. A joint account (A/C 000701065222) was also opened in my name with my daughter Vidushi Sinha who would have been a minor at that time.
I am told all these accounts were closed in 2006 and money taken out. I was denied instant access to the account opening papers, signatures, documents of identity proof, documents supporting my PAN. After a threat to calling the police, I have been asked to come again the coming week. Though the bank is not telling me the amounts involved, the expression of shock on their faces tell me they must be big.
My older sister died in 2005. If some fixed deposits were in her name, who took out the money? If it was I, I am entitled to see the signature on the withdrawal document.
Similarly, when my daughter took up her first job in 2007, she did not have a single account to deposit her salary slip which kept collecting in the house as she was then living with me. I took her to the same ICICI branch with application to make her joint account holder in my ICICI account. I was denied that saying the documents were not complete. Nobody informed me at that time about these accounts. The first account my daughter opened was when I added her name to my HDFC account later in 2007, where all her collected salary cheques were deposited.
Since the accounts have not been opened by me, and confirmed by the bank to have my PAN number, I mailed a complaint to the Commissioner of Delhi Police on 18th April which he acknowledged and referred the case to Special Commissioner of Police/New Delhi Range vide Dy number 7156/E-mail dated 18/04/2017. He also copied dop-vigilance-dl@nic.in.
I am yet to get a call from the officers referred to.
When I look back, I recall that at that time, I was perhaps the most trusted journalist of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Though I was equally trusted by the then Home Minister LK Advani and the rest of the BJP leadership. I was known and trusted for my credibility, and it is not unusual for that to be a threat for many. I am making this public because my journalistic instincts tell me that there may be a long struggle ahead to get justice.
Through this post, I want to attract attention of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to help me get justice in getting full details of how many bank accounts/fixed deposits are, were, in my name all over the country. I suspect there may be many more. I have given my PAN number. All banking operations are centralized for the Finance Ministry. It is not linked for people like us, not as yet.
I want my right as a citizen of this country to fight my battle without powerful forces chasing me, threatening me, or threatening anybody who tries to help me. It is curious that it was in 2001 these deposits were created and it was in 2001 when post India Today, every editor who earlier wanted to hire me, suddenly changed attitude.
I am appealing to the Prime Minister and the President of India, not to wait for the physical demise of a conscientious journalist to eulogise her work. Ensure justice as custodians of law and constitution.
I seek help from friends who use smart phones to help me reach out to the above mentioned ministers.
Cheers to the spirit of journalism.

Comments