A sessions court has refused to interfere in a city magistrate’s 2016 decision sentencing a 62-year-old woman - a former loan manager of Punjab National Bank’s Sion branch to five years jail and Rs1 lakh fine for cheating the bank. The court in its judgment stated that people keep their hard-earned money with utmost faith in banks and such misdeeds of the bank officials erode that trust.
Bank officers repositories of trust: Court
The court said bank officers are repositories of such trust and termed her offence grave and serious. Additional Sessions Judge SP Naik-Nimbalkar said the white collar crime was designed with perfect intention to misutilise the public funds of the bank.
Mahrukh Suraliwala, a Dadar resident, was loan manager to the bank's Sion branch since Jan 2011. In 22 instances between Mar 2013 and Oct 2013, she had increased her loan amount from Rs1.46 lakh to Rs1.67 crore by misusing a superior's credentials. She then diverted the loan amount to her own account and finally withdrew and used it for her personal purposes.
Flea bite sentencing will not meet the ends of justice: Court
The Judge stated that it is an economic offence with grave implications leaving its impact on the economy and financial fabric of the society and nation. “The societal view to perceive such sorts of the offences is also necessary to be taken into consideration while determining the nature of the offence,” the order read. It added, “It is needless to say that the public money in crores of rupees has been duped.”
The court refused to show leniency by modifying the magistrate's order and letting Suraliwala off on a bond of good behavior instead of a sentencing. It said that a "flea bite sentencing will not meet the ends of justice" and observed that dishonest intention and abuse of official position to grab money is alarming and needs to be checked. The court said that the magistrate court had considered all these factors in proper perspective and said there is no need to interfere in the sentence imposed by the trial court.