Lhakpa Quendren

Gelephu—Jaganath Suberi, an 86-year-old resident of Gelephu, was left devastated on March 2 after discovering that he had lost about Nu 600,000 from his Bank of Bhutan (BoB) savings account.

Jaganath, being illiterate, left all SMS banking notifications unread. His son noticed the transaction message of Nu 100,000 when Jaganath’s brother credited Nu 5,000 into his account for purchasing honey.

“When my son checked the entire SMS history, he found that several transactions had taken place without my knowledge,” he said, adding that the case was then registered with the Gelephu Police Division on March 5.

His bank statements revealed a total of 36 transactions totalling Nu 585,000. These transactions, ranging from Nu 150 to Nu 100,000, occurred between December 18, 2023 and February 29, 2024.

“My bank account is currently closed, and I am left with just over Nu 100,000 in savings. I have lost my entire savings,” said Jaganath Suberi.

The highest transaction took place on December 22, with Nu 180,745 debited across eight transactions ranging from Nu 745 to Nu 60,000.

The family members are suspicious of a man who encountered Jaganath Suberi at the bank on December 15 of last year. Jaganath visited the bank to deposit Nu 26,000 into his account, and the man is suspected of noting his bank account number.

“He (suspect) then took me to Dadgari for momo, where he asked for my phone for travel registration at the border checkpost,” he recalled. “Now I realise my phone was purposely taken to generate the OTP.”

According to a family member, the suspect created the mBoB account on the same day, after which a series of transactions ranging from Nu 150 to 100,000 occurred continuously starting from December 18.

He alleged that the suspect admitted to withdrawing Nu 100,000 from his account when he visited the police station to register the case. “He said that he would refund it later. He was at the police station for a civil case involving his former wife.”

Jaganath’s 73-year-old wife, Tila Devi Suberi, said, “My husband was under stress and couldn’t sleep well for about a month. I had been consoling him, assuring him that the lost money can be retrieved.”

The suspect, according to people who closely follow him, has been involved in cases related to money.

Another individual also filed a case against the suspect for withdrawing Nu 17,000 across four transactions from his bank account on the same day when several transactions occurred from Jaganath’s bank account.

The police said the investigation was underway.

Jaganath Suberi worked as a government bus driver for a retiring 40 years ago. He opened the bank account in 2006 to save money.