cobrapost - April 27, 2013

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Canara Bank, Case 2, M. Goel, Sr. Manager, South Delhi

The save and soft-spoken government banker is a notch above among his ilk and knows it well how we can make our black money white, of course with his help. He will open as many accounts as we want and route the cash from the lockers into them and then into investment

Walking straight into this branch of Canara Bank in a posh colony of South Delhi, the Cobrapost journalist comes across a senior banker. The banker is none other than Sr. Manager M. Goel.

Our reporter tells him he has to discuss some handsome investment. Nodding appreciatively, the banker politely takes the reporter to his cabin. Here, our reporter reiterates why he is there. As soon as he hears of investment of handsome amount, the banker is prompt to ask: “Around?”

It opens up our reporter to now put forward the proposition in one breath: Right now around 60 lakh and more money, about Rs. 5 crore, is expected in March. The minister, who owns this money, wants it to invest it in the names of three individuals, other than him: the minister’s wife, his frontman, the reporter himself, and the frontman’s wife. The minister’s chartered accountant has advised us to invest in some long-term insurance scheme. FDs are a no.

Understanding the point, Goel suggests a plethora of investment avenues: “Chaliye theek hai … main aapko wahi keh raha hoon … agar aapko FD mein nahin karna hai gold ke andar bhi ho sakta hai, insurance ke andar bhi ho sakta hai, mutual fund ke andar bhi ho sakta hai, debt fund mein bhi ho sakta hai (Alright … I am telling you … if you don’t want to invest in FDs then you can invest in gold, you can invest in insurance, you can invest in mutual funds, you can invest in debt funds also).”

This is what we want, says our reporter, amazed at the range of investment avenues suggested by the banker.

Asks Goel again: “Kya chahiye (What you want)… exactly what do you want.”

We can opt for all these options you suggest, says the reporter. We have been advised not go to a private bank as investing with them can be problematic sometime later. But what we have to invest is all in cash. That is the main point.

Replies Goel with nonchalance: “Koi baat nahin Sir … kintu account mein … wo toh slowly slowly account mein wo cash slip karenge … wo toh hoga hi nahin jo aap keh rahe hain (Not an issue Sir … but we will slip the cash in the account slowly, slowly … That will not happen what you are saying).”

Cash is not a problem for Goel as it can be slipped into the account, in a gradual manner, and then he allays our concern saying that there will be no such problem.

What a brilliant idea! This is what we are looking for!

Happy, our reporter says we will open the account.

Goel continues to delineate on the modus operandi: “Pehle account khol lenge … main aapko form de doonga … slowly slowly jaise hota hai, I mean ek baar lump sum mein nahin kara payenge, zyada hi hoga toh Sir se boliye locker denge … for a time being you will keep …ghar mein rakhna risky hota hai … you will keep in the locker (First open an account … I will give you the form … it will be done like slowly, slowly … I mean we will not be able to do it in a lump sum … if it is required tell Sir we will give you a locker … for a time being you will keep … it is risky to keep the money at home … you will keep in the locker).” Worried more than us, Goel tells us to keep all the crores in the bank locker. From there the cash will be moved into our account in tranches and routed into the investment.

Excited at the prospect of getting our crores cleaned by the banker, our reporter asks if he would be kind to provide a big locker. Our reporter is never tired of demanding every service that the crores can bring at his command.

Goel is quick to reassure: “That we will manage.”

What else we need!

Our reporter quickly exchanges phone numbers with the manager, happy as he is at the turn of events, and then asks if the money thus invested in long-term schemes would become white.

Goel reiterates: “Sir, slowly slowly karenge …Sir … itna maximum … ikkattha usmein nahin daalenge (Sir, we will do it slowly, slowly … we will not do it in one shot).” Looks like he hasn’t understood the point.

No Sir, never, we will do as you advise, says the reporter.

But we are wrong. He knows why we are with him and is willing to help us in his own way: “Absolutely … alag alag schemes mein dalwayenge …. toh main daaloonga …. thoda thoda locker se jaake pachas hazar ek lakh do lakh different account mein char paacnh account zyada account hum khol lenge … aapka, aapki wife ka … sir ka jo aap bol rahe hain … Sir ki wife ka (Absolutely … we will put in different schemes … so I will put in smaller chunks … will take out the money from the locker … like 50,000, a lakh, two lakh at a time … in different accounts … in four–five accounts … we will open more accounts … one for you, one for your wife, one for Sir [the minister], one for the wife of Sir).”

Not a problem we will open as many account as you suggest, says the reporter. If you allow then we will open an account in the name of our driver, too.

Goel nods in agreement: “Haan wohi chaar paanch account aise hi kholenge … account zyada ho jayenge toh usmein uske baad koi problem nahin aayegi (Yes, like that … we will open four–five accounts … if we have more such accounts we will face no problem later).”

Yes, that is fine. Follow only a method that is safe, says the reporter, which you have already used to help other clients.

Goel gushes: “Saare hi asie aadmi hain … apne paas mein (We have all such clients with us).”
Referring to the posh area, Vasant Vihar, the bank is functioning from, our reporter says it is natural to have rich people all around.

Some sweet nothings later, Goel asks one of his subordinates to bring in half a dozen forms for account opening. He asks the reporter if his master the minister has some extra income, meaning, on the sly: “Upar ki kya hai (What is his extra income).”

You know how a minister earns, says our reporter. For instance, he has some wheeling dealing with a builder who refuses to return Rs. 25 crore that the minister has given to him. But the builder has become a turncoat and now he is in a soup. The manager says the minister should not lose his sleep over it as nobody can eat up his money. The conversation goes unabated while Goel is busy doing his work.

After his work is finished, he comes face to face with our reporter to say: “Sir ye account ke form hain … baaki aur formalities hain … aapke upar jis jis … aap apne naam … apne naam … khair Sahib aapke peeche hain aapko itna tension hone ka nahin … jo ye bol rahe hain ek doh din mein aap janenge … itne chote kaamo ke liye … aap apna aur madam ka jo hai dheere dheere … chaar paanch account khol lijiye … slowly slowly … hum aapko locker de denge taaki usmein aapka 10–15 jo bhi hai wo aa jayega Sir… wo dilwa doonga main (Sir, these are account opening forms … there are some formalities …. whosoever there is apart from you … you can in your name … anyway when Sahib is by your side then why should take any tension for such small things … what I am telling you, you will come to know about it in a day or two … open step by step your and the madam’s … open four–five accounts … do it slowly, slowly … I will give a locker … you can keep about 10–15 crore… I will allot you one).”

Would you be kind to get the currency notes counted, asks the reporter. His wish-list is never ending.

It will be done, the banker assures. But then there might be some fake currency notes as well, he strikes a note of caution.

Does he have some politicos among his clients, asks the reporter.

Yes, he has a couple of such accounts, and drops the name of a Congress MP from Bhiwani of Haryana. Our reporter is unable to recognize who the politician is. Goel goes on to say: “Policewale hain kyon ki wo bhi … doh teen policewale hain … ya doh teen builder ke hain (There are some policemen because they too … there are two-three policemen … there are two-three builders).”

Although Goel is not forthcoming in revealing fully the list of his clients, it is nonetheless an important piece of information for us, and we know now he is an old player of this game.

Have they done their transactions all in cash, asks our reporter. What if there are some notices from Income Tax?

Unable to understand the attitude of Income Tax authorities, Goel says: “Pehli baat to smajha nahin unko kya problem hai … aaj kal toh duniya kar rahi hai … duniya ke locker bhare pade hain (I don’t understand what is their problem … nowadays all people are doing it … their lockers are full of it).”

Can you suggest other ways to convert Rs. 5–7 core of black money into white, asks the reporter.

Goel sticks to his own idea: “Ek baar system mein aa jayein to log kehte hain … paanch che baar… account ke (Once you enter the system, people ask for it … it is taken in five six times … through account).

We don’t want it to be routed through account. What about doing it through some corporate company, asks the reporter.

Says Goel: “Sir wo ho jaata hai … Sir wo ho jaata hai … aapka waise hi ho jayega … Sir ko bolo waise hi ho jayega … toh fir corporate ko beech mein kyon include karein … entry lena …ye karna (Sir that can be done, Sir that can be done … when it can done, tell Sir, then why include some corporate entity in that … you have to give entry … do that).”

You mean there would be a problem, asks our reporter, if we seek the services of some company.

Replies Goel: “Sir entry … usmein … koi bhi paisa leke … entry kar sakta hai (Sir, in the entry … anybody can make an entry charging a fee).”

Not a problem, says the reporter, if it helps us convert our Rs. 25–30 crore into white at short notice. If you have some solid contacts, let us know.

Goel is of not much help: “Un ke saath jitney bhi charted accountant hote hain sare kaam charted accountant hi karte hain (They have a retinue of chartered accountants and it is they who do all such work).”

Never mind, says our reporter, and ensure whatever is there it is safe for us.

Reassures Goel: “I will try my level best.”

Please entrust the job to someone, requests our reporter, who is trustworthy and doesn’t run away with our money.

Goel get us one, as he says: “Sir … nahin paisa toh koi aisa nahin …. paisa toh koi nahin le jayega (Sir, nothing like that … nobody will run away with your money).”

Entrust the job to someone who has done it before. We have no problem in paying him upfront 5–7 per cent as fee, assures our reporter.

Says Goel: “Theek hai (Ok sir).”

The minister’s wife wants to send money to some of her relatives in England, say in tranches of Rs. 30–40 lakh, a couple of times. Can we send the money, to be kept in your lockers, with your help?

Goel will help us on this count to: “Koi problem nahin hai (There is no problem).”

Before taking his leave, our reporter seeks assurance from Goel that nothing is ever disclosed.

Goel is quick to say to reassure us: “Sir … actually mujhe maloom hai ki locker mein … locker kisi ko dikhoonga toh size se hi aapko maloom pad jayega usmein kya ho sakta hai (Sir …actually I know what is there in a locker … if I show anybody a locker, he will at once come to know what is there in the locker after he sees its size).”

After seeking this assurance from the banker, our reporter says goodbye to him.

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