My classmate and colleague who is working in my office drew a substantial amount on Friday, 30-Jan-2009 from the Nelson Manickam Road ICICI ATM in order to pay this at the post office towards NSC for tax savings.
We do have an ICICI ATM at the Nelson Manickam Road office as well, but more often than not, it carries only Rs.100/- denominations - quite painful in case you want a large sum, hence the need to go directly to the bank's ATM.
Anyway, so when he took the amount to the post office for deposit, the person at the counter initially laid out 5-6 Rs.500/- notes suspecting them to be fake. Under more stringent verification, also with the help of a scanner-cum-counting device, they isolated just one Rs.500/- note to be fake and refused to accept it. When told that it was just then drawn at the ICICI bank ATM at N.M.Road branch, their comment was that these kind of things appear to happen quite often with ICICI but never with SBI or such.
My shocked friend took it back to the bank asking for an explanation. The person at the bank counter started arguing and giving possible alternate explanations that my friend could have mixed up notes drawn from the ATM with those from elsewhere, etc and when my friend started pressing and arguing with them, the bank person had a sudden change of mind and exchanged the note.
It leaves me with a scary feeling that if fake notes can be dispensed from an ATM, then where is the chance for normal people to rest assured ??!!