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Pradeep Pattanayak

A kiosk of a nationalised bank at Kansa Panchayat under Nilagiri block in Balasore district has allegedly duped hundreds of villagers of their hard-earned money. 

The duped depositors have held the bank authorities responsible for the fraud. 

As per the allegations, the kiosk was located next to an SBI branch at Kansa Panchayat. The duped villagers alleged that whenever they would visit the branch to deposit money, the bank authorities would advise them to go to the kiosk. 

Skimping on their expenditure, they had been putting away their hard-earned money in the kiosk. 

It was when Jayanti Sahu, a resident of Durgapur village of Kansa Panchayat, visited the bank to withdraw her money on the maturity of her account that the matter came to the fore. 

Sahu alleged that she had saved Rs 1 lakh in the SBI’s kiosk for her daughter’s marriage. She had deposited Rs 40,000 and Rs 60,000 on December 16, 2019 and June 3, 2020 respectively. After one year, on the maturity of her account, she visited the bank only to find that her account had zero balance.    

Saraswati Behera is another customer who suffered the same fate as Sahu did. 

Behera, who works as domestic help and daily wager, had been economical with her spending to save something for the future. She had saved Rs 13,000 in the same kiosk. Now, she is cursing herself for counting on the bank. 

Saraswati Nayak of the same Durgapur village has a similar shocking experience to share. 

There are hundreds of such customers who have their own experiences to share. 

The couple who was running the kiosk is absconding. 

The duped customers alleged that in cahoots with the bank staff, the kiosk staff have embezzled their money. 

Worst, the bank manager is also not forthcoming, they alleged.

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