A share trader''s ears landed an air force officer in the soup

Chennai: Wing Commander V Rajagopalan was in for a shock when he opened the mails from K Ltd his depository participant-cum-stock broking company in early December 2004.

For they were contract notes for futures trades of 400 Hero Honda shares worth a couple of lakh. Interestingly, the trades were never transacted by him either online or offline, that is, through telephonic orders to his broking company.

He immediately complained to the company and asked them to stop the trades and block the trading account till the correct entries had been made. Instead, the contracts continued to bombard him.

After repeated complaints, another executive of the broking company agreed to investigate how transactions were taking place in his account if the trades had not been agreed to by Rajagopalan. Fortunately for Rajagopalan, the broking company had installed telephone recording facilities to record all conversations between employees and the clients. The executive was able to trace the trades having been executed by his one of colleagues in the office.

Rajagopalan was immediately informed about what had happened. "I was told that this person had misheard the caller's identity number and keyed in my number," he says. Nevertheless, trades continued to happen in his account till 30th December.

Finally, when the transactions stopped, Rajagopalan found he was down by Rs23,000, and was asked by the broking company to pay up this amount. The baffled air force officer refused. Now another shock awaited him — the broking company appropriated his security deposit of Rs20,000 and sent him a notice to pay the remaining Rs3,000.