Birla Sun Life, Case 2, M. Sharma, Branch Head, Jaipur, Rajasthan

This insurer suggests novel ways to invest our ‘Number 2 amount’ to give it legitimacy, and an equally novel way to reap its benefits without leaving a trace. Open an account in some extension branch, he says and “account khulake operate mat … normal transaction kariye … ussmein maturity ki lijiyega … clear ho … account jo hai khatam (After opening the account don’t operate … do normal transactions … receive the maturity [benefits] in that account … as soon as it is cleared close the account).”

A Cobrapost journalist signs himself into this branch of Birla Sun Life. The guard ushers him in the chamber of M. Sharma, the branch head. The reporter states that he wants to invest a big amount of money for a long term in a safe plan. The policy will be in three names and the money belongs to a politician. Sharma begins to educate our reporter.

Our reporter asks if the returns will be in white.

Sharma replies in affirmative: “Yes, certainly … main paisa aapko cheque se doonga …. aap mujhe cash de dijiye (I will return you the money by cheque …. you can give me cash).”

In the same breath, Sharma tells us what he is going to do with our cash: “Aap mujhe cash mein de dijiyega … main uska DD banwa loonga (You give me cash … I will get a DD for it).”

Sharma then continues to explain how and when to deposit the money in the bank. Everything follows through a procedure, and we will get the receipt of the deposit. It will take them 5–7 hours to manage our money.

The necessity of hoodwinking the system has not left the branch head’s mind. He brings in a rider: “Ye number do ka to amount hai but lekin jaise bada amount hai … toh mujhe is mein income documents chahiye honge (It’s a No. 2 amount [black money] but since it is a big amount, I will need income documents).”

Our reporter feels uncomfortable about providing the documents and informs the branch head that it is the ill-gotten money of a politician.

“Nahi (No),” Sharma assures our reporter. “Wo mera part hai mujhe asal mein ek KYC income proof chahiye hota hai (That is my part of the deal … actually I need an income proof for KYC).”

One date of birth proof, one address proof and one ID proof is all that is needed.

Now Sharma starts giving unsolicited advice. He has several methods of evading the tax authorities at the time of maturity. First he clarifies: “The return will certainly be in white … ye number ek mein aayega (It will come in number one).” Then he advices us to be cautious: “Jab bhi bhavishya mein aap is paise ki maturity lene waale hon toh ek fresh account khulwaiyega … jab withdraw karna ho ek fresh account khulwayiega … bank account … us bank account ko do ya teen mahine se operate karne lagiyega … bank account mein paisa credit hoga … paisa aane ka jariya ek hi hai … wo to number ek ka ban ke hi aayega (Whenever in future you withdraw the money at maturity, open a fresh account … operate it for two or three months … the money would be credited in to that account … this is the only way the money can be received … that will come only after it is converted into Number 1 [white]).”

Such accounts should be opened in extension counters of any bank. Sharma explains why: “Wo kya hai ki chote branch hote hain audit mein aate nahin hain wo log … wahan pe aise hi kisi branchon mein apna bank account open kariyega … do mehine pahle teen mehine pehle … paanch sau, hazaar, do hazaar se account khul jayega … account khulake operate mat … normal transaction kariye … ussmein maturity ki lijiyega … clear ho … account jo hai khatam (The point is small branches do not come under audit … open an account with in one of such branches … two–three months earlier … you can open an account with Rs. 500, Rs. 1000, Rs. 2000 … after opening the account don’t operate … do normal transactions … receive the maturity [benefits] in that account … as soon as it is cleared close the account).”

To gain our confidence, Sharma says he will not be doing the deal alone. He will involve his seniors who will clarify our doubts. He says: “Mere saath might be ek senior aa sakte hain jo bade level pe hain so that ki aur bhi terms and condition clear ho jayegi (I might bring along a senior or two who operates at a higher level … they will make clear all the terms and conditions).”

The reporter offers to have another meeting to close the deal to which Sharma agrees.

Before leaving the manager’s chamber our reporter shows a concern that we should not get caught. He immediately reassures: “Wo mera kaam hai (That’s my job).”

Satisfied thus with his assurance our interview with this Birla Sunlife Insurance official draws to a close.

Sharma is quite open about accepting our proposition of investing our money in cash and convert it into white. But once he comes to know the real identity of our reporter he refuses everything he had told us to do for us and shows us the rule book.


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