NEW DELHI: Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has called for an investigation against ICICI Bank for clearing cheques with discrepancies, but not crediting the money to the accounts of depositors.
According to official sources, the Commission has asked its investigating arm DGIR (director general of investigation and registration) to inquire into the matter and submit a report within 60 days.
Relying on media reports highlighting an incident in Noida where an ICICI bank account-holder’s cheque carrying some discrepancies was cleared without the money being credited to his account, the Commission took suo-motu cognisance and called for a probe to see if the practice was unfair.
Media reports said the cheque which had some discrepancy in the name written on it was cleared by the bank and the money deposited with its suspense account. It was claimed that the depositor had to face a lot of difficulties before realising his money.
“The practice of clearing cheques with discrepancies and not crediting it to the concerned accounts, prima facie, appears to be an unfair trade practice,” a source in the Commission said. Apparently not convinced with ICICI bank’s approach on the matter, the official added in cases of discrepancies in the cheques, banks usually return them to the depositors without clearing them on its own. When contacted, an ICICI spokesperson said they have not received the notice yet.
The RBI is in knowledge of the ICICI bank maintaining an account styled ‘current cheques with insufficient details’ reflecting amounts collected against instruments deposited where the depositors fail to give proper account details.
The RBI, in response to a right to information application, had noted that while one of the discrepancies could be a mismatch in the name and account number of the depositors, “these entries could be reversed at the branch after receipt of appropriate information”.
The ICICI bank which has been at the receiving end of the courts over several aspects of its functioning, with the Supreme Court disapproving its coercive methods to recover loans from defaulters.