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Consumer forum fines telco for SIM mix up

A district consumer forum here has directed Bharti Airtel Limited and Balaji Communications to pay about Rs 2.4 lakh to a consumer for blocking his original SIM card and issuing a duplicate one to a third party without proper verification. The duplicate SIM was said to be used to siphon Rs 2.19 lakh from his bank account while the victim was abroad.

Satyajit Suri, the complainant, submitted that his employer National Institute for Smart Government opened a savings bank account with the State Bank of India (SBI) for crediting salaries and other emoluments, in addition to providing a connected usage group SIM card for official use.

Suri said that on September 16, 2011, while he was in the United States on study leave, he noticed that Rs 2.19 lakh had been transferred from his account through internet banking to some unknown accounts on September 12. He said that he immediately communicated the same to his employer and requested to file a police complaint.

Parallelly, Suri said that he also dropped several mails to SBI requesting them to initiate prompt action. Suri said that through Bharati Airtel, he came to know that Balaji Communications had issued a duplicate SIM after clocking the original SIM issued to the complainant, before the occurrence of fraudulent transactions.

SBI, in its written version, submitted that it had furnished all particulars of transactions made from the complainant’s account number to other accounts as a dutiful and prudent banker and discharged its responsibilities to the complainant as a banker.

Bharati Airtel, meanwhile, took preliminary objection on the maintainability of the complaint and submitted that the complainant has approached this Forum without exhausting his remedy available as per the Telecom Consumer Protection and Redressal of Grievances Regulation 2007 and also Sec.7B of the Telegraph Act, 1885. It denied all averments of the complainant. Balaji Communications failed to file a written version. ToI

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