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Bank told to pay for stolen car

New Delhi, Dec. 31 (PTI): A consumer forum has directed a bank to pay Rs 1.8 lakh to the owner of a car which was reportedly stolen after being repossessed by the bank because of default in payment of loan instalments.

The south district forum decided that not returning the vehicle amounted to “deficiency in service” when the owner was willing to pay the remaining amount.

Amrit Pal Singh Vohra had got his Toyota Qualis financed by the Bank of Punjab and a sum of Rs 3.5 lakh was to be paid in instalments. After he defaulted in paying one instalment, the bank repossessed the car.

The bank asked Vohra to pay a stipulated sum in a full and final settlement but while Vohra was making arrangements for the money, he learnt that his car had been stolen on June 25 this year.

Taking strong note of the fact that after the alleged theft, the bank did not bother to settle Vohra’s account but forced him to approach the forum, the consumer court asked the bank to pay Rs 1.8 lakh within a month.

“Since the complainant was ready to make the demanded payment to settle the loan amount, the bank was bound to return the vehicle to him,” the forum said in a recent order.

Dismissing the bank’s contention on the theft of the vehicle, the forum observed “since the vehicle has been stolen from the possession of the bank, it is deemed that the same has been sold by the bank to settle the account”.

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