Thursday, 27 October 2016

Is HDFC Bank letting Justdial steal your money?

27th October, 2016, Navi Mumbai: Here is a real-life thriller. Justdial starts plundering the bank account of an HDFC Bank customer, while the bank acts like an helpless bystander. After the dust settles, the bank tells its customer to go to the police, while it does absolutely nothing to prevent Justdial from robbing other customers. In May 2016, Sanjeev Goel, managing partner of a coaching academy called Pure Energy Academy in Belapur, Navi Mumbai, signed a contract with Justdial for business promotion. June onwards, Justdial started sucking unlimited amounts of money from Pure Energy's bank account by using a fraudulent Electronic Clearance Service (ECS) mandate. Although the bank managers now understand how the crime was perpetrated, they refuse to take steps to protect thousands of customers from Justdial and other fraudulent companies following the same modus operandi. HDFC Bank's excuse is that National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) – which handles ECS transactions -- does not require them to do so. HDFC Bank is ignoring RBI's guideline which explicitly requires them to confirm the ECS mandate with their customer first.

How Justdial cheats

Pure Energy Academy's contract with Justdial was for payment of Rs 1040/- per month, for a period of one year. See the terms of contract below.

Two cheques were issued towards the first two monthly payments. However, Justdial activated the contract a day after depositing both the cheques on 3rd June. The delay of one month in depositing the first cheque appears to be because the signature, stamp and other details of the cheques contained were being used by Justdial's backroom boys to creat a forged ECS/NACH mandate form enabling them to charge upto Rs 1040/- as many times in a month as they wished. With this phony mandate, Justdial could directly withdraw limitless money from Pure Energy's bank account by presenting the ECS/NACH mandate for the next 14 years! Also, the ECS mandate was made out to be non-cancellable! See the forged ECS/NACH mandate below.

(Note: take a close look at this document; it is so obviously fishy! All the options are pre-tick-marked and cancelled in the printed form itself. They are not tickmarked or cancelled by hand, the form is printed that way! Even the supposed termination date of the contract – 31/03./2030 – is printed, and only the starting date is entered by hand. The frequency options i.e. Monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly, are all pre-cancelled in the printed form, and "As and when presented" is pre-tickmarked. The debit type option of "Maximum amount" is also pre-selected in the printed stationery. Also notice that something has been pasted on top of the form, partly covering the words "Client" and "Reference" on the left-hand-side. Like a cheque, the ECS mandate is a negotiable instrument, so how can it have a pasted-on layer? Aren't negotiable instruments rejected by banks if there is pasting, over-writing etc.? This ECS mandate defies commonsense!)

Using this dubious ECS mandate, Justdial started guzzling money from Pure Energy Academy's bank account. Justdial encashed both the cheques on 3rd June, and debited Rs 1040/- on 30th June by ECS – three debits in the first month of the contract. Despite Sanjeev telling them to terminate the contract, Justdial debited Rs 1040/- in July, August and September, plus Rs 110/- twice in September. Within four months, Justdial took payment for more than six months.

See Statement of Account below.

Pure Energy Academy's stop-payment instructions over net-banking and email, starting 31st August, were ignored, sidestepped and buck-passed by HDFC Bank. The bank stopped the ECS mandate only on 10th October. The bank's actions of commission and omission need a closer scrutiny.

How HDFC Bank turned a blind eye

1) HDFC Bank did not seek its customer's confirmation of this ECS mandate. Although the ECS mandate presented by Justdial defies logic (allowing unlimited withdrawals for 14 years) Defying RBI's clear directions, HDFC Bank never sought Sanjeev's confirmation of the ECS mandate. Had this basic step been taken, many clear signs of forgery and contradictions between Justdial's contract and the ECS mandate would have come to light.

2) HDFC Bank did not send him SMS alerts when money was debited by Justdial. So Sanjeev did not notice this unusual activity until 31st August, 2016, when he got his accounts statement. Then he raised an alarm, writing to both Justdial and HDFC Bank executives. Both responded with delaying tactics, vagueness and buck-passing.

3) HDFC Bank managers are inadequately trained, ill-informed and non-committal. The bank managers clearly did not know where the original instrument i.e. ECS/NACH mandate, was to be found. The Belapur Banch Manager and others kept giving false promises, saying that they had initiated the process of getting the original ECS mandate, and it would land on their table within a few days. They contradicted themselves and each other repeatedly in this and other ways. Finally, on 15th October, they washed their hands off the whole problem, arguing that since NPCI had the original copy of the mandate, they were not authorized to access it. What the HDFC Bank managers advised Sanjeev was, "Let the police register an FIR against Justdial, then they will requisition the original copy of the ECS mandate from NPCI and scrutinize it as part of their investigations. We are no longer involved in your problem." However, they said this orally and refused to put it down in writing.

HDFC Bank refuses to compensate Pure Energy Academy by reversing the debits. After belatedly examining the copy of the ECS mandate on 3rd October, it became clear to the branch manager and others that this was a case of fraud and forgery, but they refused to take any action. Their final stand is that Sanjeev must file a police complaint. If and only if the police register an FIR against Justdial, HDFC Bank will consider reversing the debits. This also is only a feeble oral statement, and the bank's managers are unwilling to even talk about it with any certainty.

But what if the police does not register FIR? Suppose the police takes the stand that this is a banking issue, and therefore, they have no understanding of it, and therefore, Sanjeev should complain to appropriate authorities in the banking domain? Then Sanjeev will effectively be left with no remedies, and Justdial will get away scotfree! For HDFC Bank, however, it will just be business-as-usual.

Krishnaraj Rao

Other Articles on HDFC Bank:

1) Pawn your Wife's Gold Now -- No Documents Needed!

2) Abuse of Customers' Trust & Fiduciary Relationship

Monday, 24 October 2016

Rebuttal of Ekta World CMD Ashok Mohanani

Reproduced below is the complete rebuttal of Mr Ashok Mohanani to the draft press release that we emailed to him on 20th October, 2016. This press release was titled Ekta Builder: Broken Promises & Bhai-giri.  

Dear Mr. Krishnaraj Rao,

Greetings from EKTA world!

At the onset, I appreciate you giving us additional time to send across our response. As discussed, please find our point wise reply to your draft Press Release dated 20th October, 2016 ;

With reference to Para 1 of your allegations pertaining to Ekta Group/Ekta World/it’s PR Campaigns, we deny all these allegations, insinuations and contentions contained therein and state that Ekta as a brand is in the market since last more than 29 years and is non for it’s consistent quality and excellent customer service. Today, we are proud to state that there are more than 14500 happy families across the Mumbai and other areas including Pune and Nashik.  We further deny that the PR Campaigns, Websites etc all are smokescreen and there are no safeguards and/or no legal entitlements. I am disheartened that a journalist and activist of your repute is relying only on the one sided story based on the details provided by one customer and without knowing the complete facts of the matter and contemplating on publishing theses on public forums that will cause grievous harm to our untarnished reputation.

We refute all the allegations made by this customer and state that the said Mr Vineet Malik had an ample opportunity to get all the clarities on the Agreement clauses prior to the registration of Agreement for Sale and when he visited in our Bandra office, he sought explanation of queries as regards the Agreement for Sale. Further, the booking was done by him alongwith his mother however, prior to registration he has requested to remove his Mother’s name from the booking and register the said Agreement only in his name.  For this, purpose, an indemnity bond had been taken by us from Mr. Vineet Mallik. Had he not requested us to change the name, then we would have not taken an indemnity bond. Please note that since September, 2012 and time and again thereafter, Mr. Vineet Malik was intimated to register the Agreement. However, for reasons best known to him he chose to register the Agreement only on 30th May 2016 i.e. approximately after 4 years.

We refute all the claims made by you as regards brochure and Flat Purchase Agreement of Ekta Parksville. You must be aware that the Agreements for Sale are not prepared by the Developers themselves and the same are drafted by highly reputed Solicitors. Our Agreements are in accordance with the provisions of law. Therefore, all the claims as regards Bhai Giri and rosy promises etc. are denied by us in to-to.

As has been already referred hereinabove, it is correct that Mr.Vineet Malik applied for a Flat in the end of year 2011 and his first demand was that of 2011 on the completion of the 1st Slab.  However, it is common sense that in such a larger layout dates of Possession are given considering all the perspectives such as completion of construction of Common Amenities, formation of Society / Apex body and other force majeure conditions and therefore, it is impossible that anyone can promise possession of the Flat within 2 years i.e. by December,2013 as purportedly claimed by Mr.Vineet Malik. We have never communicated to him such date. It is not the case that the Developer was not interested in registering the Agreement for Sale, on the contrary it was Mr.Malik who had chosen to register it only in the year 2016. In fact had this been true then Mr. Vineet Mallik should have not signed the Agreement in 2016. A logical person would have asked for refund of the money. Further, thereafter also whenever we and our staff tried to call him and message him all his calls and messages remained unanswered. We deny all the allegations leveled by Mr. Malik in para 2,3 and 4 in to-to and state and submit that the purchasers are entitled to the amenities promised under the Agreement. This seems to be story authored by Mr. Mallik to taint our name.

As regards the allegations and contentions raised by Mr.Malik in Para -5 of your press release under the head “The Story of the Flat Buyer” - as has been already explained in the earlier paragraphs hereinabove, the possession was never agreed in the year 2013 and prior to registration of the Agreement, the hardcopy of the final MOFA was sent to the purchasers house in Gurgaon. Infact the correct date of possession has been mentioned in the Agreement.. However, the said Mr.Malik have chosen to remain silent till then and had also registered Agreement at his convenience and immediately thereafter initiated defaming Ekta through media and on various public platforms such as Facebook and other digital & print media for the reasons best known to him. We state and submit that there is no cheating or coercion applied on the said Mr.Malik and if he was so disturbed and dis-satisfied by the services offered by Ekta then he should have taken steps towards cancellation of his bookings by asking for refund or compensation.

For your immediate reference, we are annexing herewith photographs of the current status of the construction of Brooklyn Park F Wing, which will clarify that the photographs given by Mr.Malik are far away from the facts also sending you most recent images of his flat.

Trust you would act in fairness and stay true to your commitment to serve public interest (in the true sense). Assuring you our complete co-operation as always.

Further to your email dated 20th Oct 2016  we would be delighted to meet you at a mutually convenient date, time and location to further discuss this and provide you with any further details that you may wish to seek in this regard.  We will be represented by Mr. Chinmay Gerasappa – Chief Sales Officer - Ekta World and Ms.Deepti Nair – AGM (Media, Marketing & PR) Ekta World

Recent Photographs

Ekta World project photos

Ekta World project photos

Ekta World project photos

Ekta World project photos

Thanks & Regards
Ashok Mohanani
Chairman & Managing Director
401, Hallmark Business Plaza,
Bandra (East), Mumbai - 400051.
Phone: 91-22-61152424
Fax: 91-22-61152200.
Dubai Office: Al Musalla Towers, 1608, |16th Floor,
Khalid Bin Waleed Street| Bur Dubai U.A.E.

[Note: In addition to the above four photos given as inline graphics, this PDF file of demand notes issued to flat purchaser Vineet Malik was attached. 

Also sent as attachments were the below 9 photos showing current status of the construction of Brooklyn Park F Wing, taken today (October 24, 2016) with the masthead of today's Times Of India shown as proof of date.



Ekta Builder: Broken Promises & Bhai-giri

Mumbai, 24 October, 2016: Ekta Group of builders cheats and bullies its customers – no two ways about it. Don't be fooled by clever PR campaigns, paid media, beautiful website, and estate agents. Don't get taken in by endorsements of reputed corporates like HDFC Realty, HDFC Red, or mentions in Magic Bricks Now. Don't get fooled by Anil Kapoor's endorsement and MCHI-Credai Awards for Customer Responsiveness. That's all smokescreen. The ground-reality is that Ekta Group, also known as Ekta World, is shamelessly unreliable. Booking a flat in an Ekta project means giving lakhs of rupees with no safeguards and no legal entitlements. Even when the flat-agreement is registered, it is an unfair, one-sided agreement that make you lose all your rights as a flat purchaser. Ekta builder's overall strategy is to make the buyer helpless. As they say in market language, "Builder ko haath kaatke de dene jaisa hai" -- like cutting off your hands and giving them to the builder!

Why are we making such harsh statements against a reputed builder? If you don't like long explanations, just read (1) brochure of Ekta Parksville and (2) flat-purchase agreement for Ekta Parksville. The brochure is full of rosy promises, whereas the sale agreement tells you that you have no rights and no legal entitlements at all. Builder ka sab kuch, buyer ka kuch nahin! The agreement is nothing but bhai-giri made out in legal language. Investors who have got the point can stop reading and go look for other places to put their hard earned money. Others, who want explanations, can continue reading about the actual experience of a customer. 

{Click to read the rebuttal to this press release by Ekta World CMD Ashok Mohanani OR  continue reading the story of a flat-buyer below.}

The story of a flat-buyer:
  1. Five years ago, Vineet Malik of Gurgaon applied for a flat in Ekta Parksville project in Virar, at a price of Rs 26 lakhs. The first demand for payment by Ekta Parksville Homes Pvt. Ltd. came in November 2011. This amount was promptly paid. The verbal commitment given to him was that the flat would be delivered by December 2013 i.e. two years later.
  1. Four years later, in November 2015, the last demand note was sent by Ekta Parksville Homes Pvt. Ltd. Although 95% of the total consideration had already been paid, the flat-purchase agreement was not yet signed. The buyer was at the builder's mercy; the builder could break the deal even now.
  1. In March 2016, although the buyer had paid 97% of the total consideration, Ekta continued to refer to the deal as "provisional booking". See this indemnity bond given by the buyer.
  1. In May 2016, finally, the Flat Purchase Agreement was registered. (MOFA requires registered agreement at the time of receiving 20% of the total consideration, but these builders are laws unto themselves!) The agreement was full of discriminatory clauses making the buyer renounce all his legal rights. In a nutshell, the agreement says that flat-owner is only the owner of the four walls of his house, and he has no say in the common amenities promised in the lavish brochure. (Even if the builder reduces any or all of the amenities, and exploits the FSI of the land and/or any common area of the building, the flat-owner must keep quiet! Is this the kind of agreement one expects from a reputed builder?)
  1. According to the recently signed agreement, the promised date for giving possession is December 2016. But, judging from the current construction status, this promise will be broken. The entire site is under-construction; there is no way it can be completed for giving possession within two months. Buyers will be lucky to get possession even on December 2017!
These two pictures sum up the situation:

The flat purchase agreement says that flat-owner is only the owner of the four walls of his house, and he has no say in the common amenities promised in the lavish brochure.
Ekta Parksville – What was promised

The flat purchase agreement says that flat-owner is only the owner of the four walls of his house, and he has no say in the common amenities promised in the lavish brochure.
Ekta Parksville – What will be delivered in December 2016

In our next article, we will look at the discriminatory clauses in the flat-purchase Agreement which negate the lawful entitlements of the flat-purchaser.

Meanwhile, call us and share your own experiences regarding Ekta's projects.

[Acknowledgment: Thank you activist Sulaiman Bhimani for research and groundwork.]

Krishnaraj Rao
98215 88114

Sunday, 9 October 2016

HDFC Bank: Pawn your wife's gold now -- No documents needed!

9th October, 2016: A lot of HDFC Bank customers are having a bad experience. Some are even having nightmarish experiences... and it's all thanks to the fine art of glibly selling them financial instruments and other stuff they don't need. One friend who wrote to me after reading my recent article about how HDFC Bank routinely abuses it's customer's trust and fiduciary relationship, saying, "Krish, your gripe about HDFC Bank exceeding the limits of fiduciary relationship is absolutely correct. But why pick on HDFC alone? I get similar spam mails from ICICI, Kotak, etc. Upon complaining, I was told to read the last line of these mails and unsubscribe if I did not want to receive such mails."

My reply to his query: "I picked HDFC because I have experience of its activities at first hand. But I also wrote about SBI Mutual and ICICI Bank in that article."

And then my friend wrote: "Here's a promo mail from AXIS Bank."

What we can see is, Axis Bank, while promoting its own credit card business, simultaneously markets multiple third-party brands. Such marketing emails violate Section 8 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (Amended in 2013), which says: "Prohibition of trading... No banking company shall directly or indirectly deal in the buying or selling or bartering of goods... or engage in any trade, or buy, sell or barter goods for others..." Section 6 of the Act lists what kind of businesses banks may engage in. Promoting apparels, malls, superstores etc. is not permissible.

Axis Bank's promotional email is followed by a lengthy disclaimer that threatens you and denies everything. But enough about product sales. Selling insurance products is not a legitimate banking business either, but see this email from HDFC Bank:


The bank's customer feels helpless to click "Unsubscribe" or mark such emails as spam, as they are bundled with emailed accounts statements. Saying no to spam means saying no to email statements.

HDFC Bank branches are sales points for a lot of stuff. They surround you with posters, standees, pamphlets and young relationship managers chasing monthly targets. Ask anyone for your account balance --- and you lay yourself wide open to HDFC's hardsell. Give someone your customer id and you give him access to find out how much money you have in fixed deposits, and when they mature.

HDFC Bank markets Gold Loans as an impulse purchase. "45 minutes, no paperwork" is HDFC Bank's promise. So if you are a market speculator with an itch to invest in some hot scrip, you need a few lakhs to fund this impulse purchase, and you need it now. HDFC Bank says, "Psst, psst. Raid your wife's jewelry cupboard and pawn her gold. WE WON'T ASK YOU ANY QUESTIONS! DO IT NOW. Zero accountability, man!"

45 minutes, no paperwork -- overdraft against Gold Jewellery

Or, you are a housewife who has the urge to splurge without consulting her family. To her, HDFC Bank is saying, "Just go ahead, honey, pledge your gold. DON'T THINK, JUST DO IT NOW! Live for the moment!"

Having pawned off their gold, HDFC Bank's customers discover that the bank personnel can armtwist, blackmail and extort. Read this complaint from an aggrieved customer in Mumbai: "I the undersigned holding Gold Loan A/c. No. 21114 with your esteemed HDFC Bank, Yogi Nagar Branch for Rs. 130,200/-. Last week I visited your Yogi Nagar Branch for renewal of my Gold Loan. I meet Lady Officer (name unknown) and informed her to renew the same and asked about details for the same. She refused to provide any details and filled one cash deposit slip with account number details and amount and told me to pay Rs.11680/- to the Teller. I paid the same at the Teller and given the Counterslip to that lady. She cross/cutted the account number mentioned on it and given it to me back. The said renewal charges are not accounted to my loan account but deposited in her personal account... She has also not given the Renewal documents for Gold Loan and refused to provide the same."

Since documentation is minimized, so are safeguards. Relationship managers and other para-banking employees can abuse the blind faith that customers have. There are sad stories unfolding all over the country due to such gold loans, which are taken in haste and repented at leisure. We will soon narrate a few of those stories.

Krishnaraj Rao

Thursday, 6 October 2016

HDFC Bank: Abuse of Customer Trust & Fiduciary Relationship

7th October, 2016: Imagine you are having a gynaec examination. With his rubber-gloved fingers inside you, the gynaec starts a casual chat about why you should buy his home-grown brand of condoms and intimate products. Creepy? Yeah, well, but that's how HDFC Bank and other private-sector banks work. Actually, HDFC Bank is like if your gynaec collects real-time information about when and with whom you have sex, what kind of sex you are habituated to, exactly when you menstruate, what kind of lingerie and sanitary pads you are currently wearing, etc. and then this gynaec goes and hires a bunch of MBAs and college freshers, calls them "Relationship Managers", lets them hang around his clinic pretending to be gynaecologists themselves till you start feeling comfortable enough to tell them about your intimate problems.

Then your gynaec goes and gives these relationship managers access to your information on their computer screens, with monthly targets for selling you condoms, sanitary pads and other intimate products. They call you and make you feel important by calling you a preferred customer, and giving you a platinum card. So, if your periods are four weeks late, you get a call that goes like: "Good morning, ma'am, I am Nikhil, your personal banker. May I interest you in visiting our abortion clinic? Oh, you don't want to abort? My apologies, madam. May I take this opportunity to gift you an early booking in a maternity home with whom we have a tie-up? We also have a tie-up with Amazon for incredible discounts on maternity gowns and chocolate-flavoured condoms this Diwali. When can I come and meet you to book your orders?"

Bankers are routinely privy to salary details, annual income, etc. that it is their business to know. However, the salesmen and women who hang around your bank have no business to know your financial details. HDFC Bank branches have a bunch of glib young men and women who are very approachable and go out of their way to fill up account-opening forms, etc. for you. Just because they sit inside the bank, you think they are "bankers" and you never hesitate to ask them to access your account on their computers. So these sales people get to know private things such as a huge cash-flow into your accounts when your life insurance policy matures, or you take VRS, or sell your house, or book profits in the share market.

If you are flush with funds, your "personal banker" says, "Sir, can I interest you in our tax planning products to reduce your income-tax and capital-gains tax liability?" Alternatively, if you are struggling to pay credit-card bills, frequently overdrawing your current-account, breaking fixed deposits prematurely, etc., your relationship manager nudges you to take a personal loan or gold loan which he knows you are unlikely to repay in time. Loan disbursal lets him meet his monthly targets and earn commissions, and when you default on repayments, heavy penalties and foreclosure of your gold loan helps the bank reap handsome profits. Predatory lenders used to be called loan sharks and pawn-brokers! How the times have changed!

HDFC Bank is like if your gynaec collects real-time information about when and with whom you have sex, what kind of sex you are habituated to, exactly when you menstruate, what kind of lingerie and sanitary pads you are currently wearing, etc. and then this gynaec goes and hires a bunch of MBAs and college freshers, calls them "Relationship Managers", lets them hang around his clinic pretending to be gynaecologists themselves till you start feeling comfortable enough to tell them about your intimate problems.
Customers are set up for systematic long-term exploitation by HDFC's bankers and non-bankers acting in concert.

Here's a real-life anecdote: An elderly couple walked into an SBI Bank branch to fill up their 15H form, so that TDS would not be deducted on their interest income. A friendly-looking lady sat them down at her desk, filled up their forms for them, and persuaded them to invest Rs 3 lakhs in SBI Mutual within 15 minutes. The only reason that the elderly folks trusted this woman is that they thought she was a full-time bank staffer, whereas she was actually a freelance sales agent! .

Another anecdote: ICICI Bank organized free Aadhar Card camps in the foyers of a residential building in a posh Borivali neighbourhood. While one solitary minion sat in in the foyer taking fingerprints, mugshots, etc., half-a-dozen bank officials hung around persuading the waiting people to open accounts with ICICI Bank, and visited their homes on various pretexts. And they were pushy – it was very difficult to say no to them! Why are banks so keen on opening lots of accounts? Because it "provides customer base for ongoing cross-sell through branches". In other words, every account holder is a potential customer for credit cards, loans, etc.

And now, back to HDFC Bank. Let's look at their online behaviour.

As a customer, I have given my email address to HDFC Bank to enable them to keep me informed of my account balance, etc. Here's an example of an acceptable email from HDFC Bank:

Emails giving you updates about your HDFC account balance are ethically OK... but these are the narrow end of the wedge.

But then HDFC Bank doesn't stop at that. Here's an example of a salesman-like email, which is tolerable only because debit cards are an intrinsic part of modern banking:

Even selling ones own product by unsolicited emails should be off-bounds for banks.
Emails selling you the bank's debit card services seem ethically OK, but only because banking and debit/credit card businesses are so inextricably mixed up.

But HDFC Bank doesn't stop at selling their own products either, they try selling you other companies' offerings, earning advertisement revenues like a newspaper company. Here's an example:

Surely, advertising Amazon's festival sale is beyond the boundaries of the client-banker relationship. Advertising cannot be considered a part of a bank's regular activities.
Emails like this one really cross the line from banking to advertising and marketing. Using its own customer base for marketing the products of other unrelated companies, is abuse of the trust that customers repose in bankers.

Surely, advertising Amazon's festival sale is beyond the boundaries of the client-banker relationship. Advertising cannot be considered a part of a bank's regular activities. Is this why we give the bank our email address? Using the bank's customer base as a captive market for selling the products of other companies is abuse of trust and misuse of the client's information!

HDFC Bank earns a large proportion of its revenues from third party product sales, fees and commissions. See this slide from HDFC's investor presentation:

Using the bank's customer base as a captive market for selling the products of other companies is abuse of trust and misuse of the client's information!
The box on top right shows that third-party product sales is a source of fees and commissions for HDFC Bank. The bullet points at the bottom shows that Fees and Commission form about a quarter of other Income (non-fund revenues) of the bank.

Bottomline: In their made race for year-on-year growth, retail bankers are crossing over some boundaries of the client-banker relationship. HDFC Bank is abundant in examples of this unwholesome trend.

These may not necessarily be adequate grounds for filing complaints to RBI or the banking ombudsman, or for going to consumer court. But this distasteful behaviour shows a tendency to exploit the customers' ignorance, dependency and blind trust in their banks.

[Please share your experiences in the comments.]

Krishnaraj Rao

Other articles about HDFC Bank:

1) Is HDFC Bank letting Justdial steal your money?

2) Pawn your wife's gold now  -- No documents needed!

Surgical strike happened! We khakhi chuddies were there!

Commander-In-Chief Narendra Modi led the surgical strike from the front! He charged 2.5 km into enemy lines, and valiantly vanquished the evil Pakistani terrorists. Following him were our brave army of patriotic knicker-clad bhakts a.k.a. The Only True Patriots!
Never ever ever ever question Modiji's great leadership. Ever! He has valiantly led the surgical strikes from the frontlines, and we, the only true patriots, will willingly lay down our lives for him!

"Never doubt that khakhi chuddies can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- with apologies to Margaret Mead.

The Surgical Strike happened! It did! We kicked Pakistan's ass. And it happened exactly as our great and glorious leader Narendra Modi says it happened. Exactly that way -- because Narendra Modi is the only true leader since Independence. He has proof, even though he does not want to show any proof. It's not fair to ask him for proof, because he is Our Glorious Leader (Praise Be Upon Him).

Every single Prime Minister who came before Narendra Modi (except Atal Behari Vajpayee) was a nincompoop and a liar. 

Actually, even Gandhi was a closet gay, a child-molester and a coward. It is actually Golwalkar, Hedgewar and Godse -- and maybe Subhash Bose and Shahid Bhagat Singh also -- who banished the British and gained Independence. Modi is the only true successor of these saffron stalwarts -- the Messiah who has emerged after six decades of so-called Independence. He will lead India to superpower status within one electoral term -- no, make that two. If you want achche din to actually come, you will have to vote for Modi one more time... and one more time after that, if you don't mind. 

By then, Congi Commies would have been banished forever (because Congress-Mukt Bharat!) and Hindustan will march gloriously in lock-step into the future in knee-length Khakhi chuddies.

If you believe all of the above, you are a great patriot.

And if you doubt or question any of the above, you are also a crook, a liar, a Congi Commie stooge, and you deserve to die a horrible death. You all are traitors. You are sympathizers of Pak-sponsored terrorists. You chicken-hearted cow-eating sickulars should be tried for sedition, and hanged from the lamp posts.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Orissa HC judge: If you mess with my brother, you will face me in court

1 October, 2016, Cuttack: Before doing business with a judge's brother, think twice. In the year 2000, Ravenshaw, a 150-year-old college, signed an MOU to start professional courses in "public private partnership" with Star Computer Institute Pvt. Ltd., belonging to BJP politician Biswajit Mohanty, son of Barrister Ranjit Mohanty, and brother of Orissa High Court's second-seniormost judge Indrajit Mahanty. In 2011, this MOU was renewed for a further three years. Upon the MOU's expiry in 2014, Ravenshaw (which was now no longer just a college but a full-fledged university) decided not to renew their MOU with Star. In the process, Ravenshaw incurred the enmity of Biswajit Mohanty's elder brother, who proceeded to give them a taste of pure hell!
Ravenshaw is a grand old institution with 8000 students and 90 faculty members currently, as against a sanctioned strength of 300 faculty. It became a University through an enactment in 2005, and was bound by UGC's guidelines, which said, "No university whether central/state/private can offer its programme through franchise agreement even for the purpose of conducting course through distant mode." But, given the money and prestige involved, businessman Biswajit Mohanty was in no mood to leave the campus peacefully. So the matter went into arbitration, and also, in November 2014, an FIR was registered against Biswajit Mohanty because he allegedly "entered the University campus with five other persons and misbehaved with staff and students of the ITM department using the most filthy language". The police complaint said that Biswajit Mohanty threatened them, saying, "If you don't refrain yourself coming to the ITM department, I would assault you by entering into your home".

And then, in March 2015, came the judgment of the district judge to the arbitration petition filed by Star Computer Institute while the arbitrator's final order was still awaited. The judgment upheld Ravenshaw's right to terminate the MOU. The FIR and this adverse judgment against Biswajit Mohanty provoked his big brother Indrajit Mahanty, who took all the high court cases concerning Ravenshaw into his hand.

Until then, Ravenshaw's cases were heard by single benches such as Justice S.C. Parija, Justice Biswanath Rath, and Justice Sanju Panda, and many orders and judgments were favourable to Ravenshaw. Multiple writ petitions filed in 2015 against a recruitment advertisement issued by Ravenshaw, were initially posted in the single judge benches of Justice B.N Rath, Justice Dr. B.R Sarangi and Justice Dr. A K Rath, and later, all recruitment matters were brought to the court of Justice B.R Sarangi, where they remained stayed for 7 months. Then, on 9th December 2015, a division bench of Justice D P Choudhury and Indrajit Mahanty passed a comprehensive judgment quashing the recruitment, and slamming Ravenshaw on almost every count. This bench -- dominated by Justice I Mahanty who is almost a decade senior to Justice Choudhury (currently the juniormost judge in Orissa High Court) – went on to initiate two suo motu civil contempt proceedings. Between March and May 2016, Justice Indrajit Mahanty passed eight orders on various cases that showed Ravenshaw who was boss!

On 9th December 2015, a division bench headed by Justice Indrajit Mahanty overturned the earlier judgments from 2014, quashed the recruitment, and slammed Ravenshaw University. 

The orders and judgments mentioned in this article (including FIR and District Judge's arbitration order) can be downloaded from
Questions arise about our judiciary's integrity:
  1. Was Orissa's Chief Justice Vineet Saran ignorant about Justice Indrajit Mahanty's special interest in Ravenshaw University? Or did he consciously allow Justice I Mahanty to use the court system to settle scores? 
  2. Unknown to India's common man, is our judiciary generally functioning in this way? Do many of our judges have an axe to grind? Is it normal for some judges to say to each other, "I want to teach that party a lesson, so transfer that case to me"? Do they quietly manipulate and attract some cases to their own court?
The main issue is not whether Justice Indrajit Mahanty is a good guy or a bad guy. It's also not whether his judgments and orders in Ravenshaw matters are judicially correct or otherwise. The key issue is, why did Orissa High Court allow Justice Indrajit Mahanty to give judgments on Ravenshaw, where he had a vested interest?

What happened afterwards: After activist Chittaranjan Mohanty, on behalf of the 8000 students of Ravenshaw, petitioned the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justice of Orissa High Court in July 2016, all Ravenshaw-related matters were taken away from Justice Mahanty. The division bench matters were assigned to a bench headed by Justice S.C. Parija and the single bench matters were assigned to Justice Debabrata Dash who hears all service matters. A PIL is about to be filed for review of the judgment and orders of the Division Bench headed by Justice I.Mahanty in Ravenshaw recruitment matter.

Krishnaraj Rao
98215 88114

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