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Dear All,

I have a typical incident in one of our branches.



We have a cashier "Ramesh" (name changed) and his job responsibility was to handle cash. One day after closing of the day's cash, next day he saw around Rs.1,08,000 cash was missing from the cash box. He has the locker key, Bureau Key and also the Cabin Key (both the sets).



Once it was brought to the notice of management next day, we tried to find out how that could happen and Mr. Ramesh conveyed that Mr. Suresh (one month's old in the organization) - his friend in accounts Dept - was there with him the previous day evening to help him count the cash. But both the people in preliminary enquiry could not say any convincing answer for the missing cash and blamed each other for this.



Management kept these two people under "suspension pending enquiry" from Middle of February2011. There were other formalities like issuing them charge sheet, receiving of replies happened and management initiated domestic enquiry against these two people. The enquiry proceedings are recorded and we are yet to receive Enquiry Report from the Enquiry Officer.



in the meanwhile we have held salaries for these two people for the month of February 2011 and we also confiscated Motor bike belonging to the casher - Mr. Ramesh. We shall release this to him on settlement of this issue



Now my question is



1. Can management hold salaries of such people when there is ticklish issue that too w.r.t. (look like) embezzlement of cash? Can we do so?



2. Does Management have right to hold such personal property of an employee in the above case?



2. I know when we keep an employee under suspension, we need to pay "Subsistence Allowance" as per provisions of law. Whether Ramesh has missed the cash or Suresh has stolen the cash, we do not know. Nevertheless, as a cashier, Ramesh is responsible for accounting the cash, do you agree? and he is responsible for make good the loss, right? In this circumstance:

a) If we release the subsistence allowance we would be losing that money also?

b ) If we do not, then it would be viewed as contravension of the act i.e. not paying subsistence allowance

c) If labour law is strict in paying subsistence allowance very particularly, what the same labour law offers to management in recovering the money from such employees?

3. How to recover the money then?



Experts, please go through this live case study and alert me with points and how to go about it further, and the legal points that I may have to concentrate.



In the meanwhile Ramesh has already written a letter to us to release his salary and give back his motorbike, else he will take up this matter legally, it seems.



Balaji
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First check the cash book is it closed daily?

Check whether the previous evening was it closed? including the denominations etc? Who signed the cashbook.

How come this difference was noted any breaking of cash box, etc.

How your office allows so much cash to be kept in office, what rules your office follows?

As ramesh is cashier did the company took any idemnity bond from him... because as ramesh is cashier if he goes absconding with cash what can you do? but since he is not absconding there is possibility he is innocent, but for this holding personal property of employees is not legal unless it is proved that he has stolen the cash.

IF tomorrow ramesh is proved innocent then what sense it makes to hold his motorcycle? Anyways when the cash difference was noticed did your company file FIR with police? I feel this should have been reported to police they will have done detailed enquiry on the two people this surely seems the work of some insider, so should be solved at the earliest, your company is wasting time i guess, was the cash balance perfect till that day, including denominations etc.

Ramesh is much older than suresh how is his nature, how is the nature of suresh and his past employement details , verification etc/
Following are further points:

1. The cash box was not not broken, it was in tact. The demoninations were noted by the cashier and he kept the cash in the cash box, it appears and was busy talking with his family member over phone, it appears. He did not re-check the cash box on the previous day evening before keeping the same in the bureau and before his friend Suresh, left his cabin.

2. There is no indemnity bond. Even if you take an indemnity bond, if someone absconds with cash, what will you do with indeminity bond?

3. Enquiry is an exercise that will bring out facts and figures. A cashier is responsible for accounting and balancing receipts and payments for the day and also responsible for safety of cash. Conducting domestic enquiry and even the individual is proved innocent, then there is no problem in handing over the motorbike to him.

3. We did not file any FIR with police. Had if we done that, treatment of individual by the police would have been different, hence we did not want him to suffer the police torture.

4. Whether the money has been stolen by the insider or outsider is immaterial. I am asking, is it not the responsibility of the cashier to keep the money intact?

5. Ramesh had reported earlier that some 5000 is missing and other day 6000/- is missing, etc (may be a ploy). He was admonished by his boss for his recklessness and immediately he used to do something and bring / balance the cash. Probabaly the cash would not been missing and he created a scene to guage our mental wavelenght as to how we (management) react to such situations. He might have projected on those occasions with an intention to swindle money and if management was to liberally say to write off the missing cash, they he would have been happier doing further. When management was stern, he could keep the money back, that is what it appears.

Balaji
Dear Balaji

Not filing the police complaint against them will certainly go against you in future. If they proceed to take legal recourse against you this point will help them immensely to substantiate the fact that they were inocent. At that point of time your good approach of avoiding harsh treatment by police will not help you. It is therefore recommended that you should immediately file the police complaint even if it is bit late. You can inform the police that the domestic enquiry was going on and hence the delay in filing police case.

As far as subsistance allowance is concerned, yes, it needs to be paid during the enquiry and many courts take it seriously if the subsistance allowance is not paid. Their advocates will surely take this stand to vitiate the enquiry proceedings. However it can be defended by proving that no prejudice has been caused to the employees. You will have to place the burden of proof on the workmen to show how non payment of subsistance allowance affected the enquiry proceedings? But this will happen in Labour Court if they choose to challenge the enquiry proceedings.

It is not advisable to confiscate bikes and other personal belongings of the employees. They can file a case against your company.
I dont know how could an organisation write off the missing cash this surely means ramesh is a part of a gang looting your company, how come it is just possible that cash goes missing and is written off, that too in office without any theft ,breakage,
Also check rameshs personality based on his earlier missing of cash of 5k and 6k

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