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Thursday, May 13, 2010

the story of cash transportation by a Bank in Pondy to their Chennai RO

Dear (s)

All establishments handle huge amounts of cash – these could be cash drawn for payment wages, salaries, petty cash; business collections taken for depositing into bank and more. This is exposed to perils of fire, burglary, snatching, hijack, robberies, armed dacoity & more….

Remember Mani Ratnam’s hit film ‘the plot was the stealing of fresh printed bank notes of an incredible 1000 crores value from a train by the henchmen.’ ……….. Unlike movies, the money from establishments would be taken through bustling highways, crowded streets – may not always be in the best possible manner. Usually, the office peon takes them to the bank – in olden days in his bicycle and then in two wheelers, putting them in their side boxes – sporadically, loss of cash by diverting their attention, stealthily taking away from the box, snatching and even threat at knife point would get reported. Bigger companies would adopt professional security cover from Firms who have well trained staff, good fleet of vehicles, armed guards and so on, depending upon the amount involved.

There is one catch; sometimes, there could be un-accounted cash transaction, or purchases requiring predominantly cash. These firms could employ ingenuous methods. Quite often they say that employees of Gold & Diamond purchasers travel like common men in public transport carrying cash in traditional yellow cloth bags !

All Insurers have a Policy covering Cash – whilst inside the premises (in safe) and whilst in transit. Most well drawn policies would specify at least one end of coverage – could be from the premises to bank and vice versa; between various premises; from collection centres to premises and various other possible combinations. Besides, there could be singular transaction / movement of huge amount of money. Many a times, banks carry huge amounts of money from their chest to their branches and for replenishing ATMs

The Insurance premium would generally be calculated on the value of transactions throughout the year and would have a single carriage limit, mode, manner and some details of armed guards accompanying etc., Some suggestions on the precautions to be taken whilst transporting huge amounts of cash seem straight lift from a movie : Never go alone, never transport at night; never stop your vehicle for giving a lift to a passerby, use at least two people; don’t count the cash in open; be on the look out in the neighbourhood – the person cutting grass may not be all that innocent, as also the other man whose car has a flat tyre and requires help. Those who regularly transport huge money need to be procedural but should not be using the same method, way, route, drivers, accompanying persons - avoiding becoming regular and noticeable.    There are also other precautions like – plastic till guards, smoke and dye money packs, bullet resistant glass and smoke filled screens, time delay safes etc., - all come at a premium. But in our country, many a times caution is thrown to wind, as we have a pre conceived notion that it ' shall never occur to me ' .

I had earlier written about the experience of a Trichy based jeweller during Aug 2008. They were transporting 3.72 crores ($ 826666 @ 45); the vehicle was stopped in a place near Veppur by somebody posing as police cop; the occupants were forced to open the door, they were tied and pushed into the vehicle. Cash was shifted to another vehicle and assailants fled away. TN Police could break this case and arrest all the culprits involved (including two employees) and recovered 1.50 crores in a swift operation.

Recently, there was another incident reported (Times of India 12/05/10) when a cab driver drove away with 1 crore; Police were able to apprehend the vehicle and recover 80 lakhs of cash. A nationalised bank ws to transport cash from their Puducherry office and deposit it into their Regional office at Anna salai. They hired a car from a travels operator and got into a Tata Indica keeping the cash in the trunk. The driver aware of the money being transported, devised a plan, stopped the car abruptly enroute stating mechanical snag. The employees accompanying the cash got down to push the car and some passer by also lent helping hand. The car sped away, leaving behind the employees who lodged a complaint. The Neelankarai PS alerted the checkposts on ECR and a special team found the vehicle abandoned. Major amount of cash was recovered.; 20 lakhs was reportedly missing. The owner of the cab was taken into custody and interrogated upon.

The cab owner was taken into custody. He will be interrogated for information about the whereabouts of the driver. The balance might never get recovered.

Unlikely that this was insured as many a times Bankers do not opt for comprehensive coverage and singular transits of these nature generally go unreported. The ending may not always be happy as those affected would have found out.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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