Bank of Maharashtra complains of ‘fake news’ about financials

The bank has named three individuals in its complaint. The police have registered an offence against them. File

THE PUNE City Police’s cybercrime cell has launched a probe after the Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) lodged a complaint alleging “circulation of fake news and spreading of rumours about the Bank’s financial health on WhatsApp, news sites and other social media platforms”. In the complaint application given to police on Tuesday, the Pune-headquartered Bank has named three people, police said.

In a press statement filed through the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday night, the bank has said, “This complaint is against the maligning of the Bank of Maharashtra’s image in various social media platforms. The details of the news portal and Twitter handle have been given to authorities. The Bank of Maharashtra has requested authorities to detect the origin of this fake news and take stern action against the people behind this...”

Senior Inspector Jairam Paigude of the cyber cell said, “The bank has named three individuals along with their online addresses and other details. An offence has been registered against the three and we have launched a probe.” The online posts have made allegations about BoM’s financials while also mentioning the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank, officials said.

The statement by the bank said, “The Bank is well capitalised and has a strong, loyal base of more than 27 million customers and it is growing in strength. The published wrong information about the Bank of Maharashtra is misguiding the public... The news appearing in social media is not correct and inferences are drawn without knowing the facts.”

The statement added, “Drawing a similarity in the conditions of the BoM with other banks that have faced action from RBI based on ... fraud is ... false. Figures mentioned in news on fraud involving BoM are grossly misleading/incorrect. Our exposure to the defaulting ... sector companies is meagre and has very little impact on the Bank’s balance sheet and profitability. The Bank is committed to protecting the interests of all its valued stakeholders and has taken strong steps against the miscreants and panic mongers. The Bank appeals to its trusted patrons to be cautious of misguiding/false information circulating against it and assures that its financial position continues to be absolutely safe and sound.”