Nothing to fear. “Aapko kuch nahin aayega, humari surety hai (Nothing will come to you, this is the surety we give you)”
The Personal Banker, P. Bhowmik, with the HDFC branch somewhere in South Delhi, was quite forthcoming when the Cobrapost journalist sought her help to invest Rs. 50 lakh of black money with her bank.
Bhowmik suggested a scheme in which the investor would get back Rs. 70 lakh after 5 years. She said: “Seventy plus automatically. Wo aapke account mein credit hoga (That will be credited into your account). That is again white money …. aur TDS kuchh nahin katega. Isiliye ismein sub se zyada investment bhi ho rahe hain cash. Ismein hota hai Section 10 aur Section 10(D) jo hota hai. Jo aapne lagaya aur jo aapko mila that is totally tax free (There will be no TDS. That’s why people are investing in this scheme in cash in maximum numbers. Under Section 10 and Section 10(D), whatever you invest and whatever you get back is totally tax free).”
How much cash can be invested in this scheme, asks our reporter? Replies Bhowmik: “Hum jaisa chahte hain waisa, koi dikkat nahin, yeh jo hai, yeh apna hai. Ismein aap cash with DD, cheque hum sab kuch lete hain (Whatever you want. There is no problem. We accept anything, cash with DD and cheque).”
What if the Income Tax authorities come knocking on the door after such a large investment in cash is made, asks the reporter? Nothing of that sort is going to happen, assures Bhowmik:
“Aapko kuch nahin aayega, humari surety hai. Wo bank draft bhi nahin lagta ki aap kahan se cash de rahe hain. Hum kahin nahin batate. Aap note kaun kaun sa de rahe hain, ye tak mention nahin hoga (Nothing will come to you, this is the surety we give you. We don’t need even a bank draft for this so as to know from where you got all this cash. We don’t tell it to anybody. We will not mention even what types of currency notes you’re giving).” After more such assurances, Bhowmik tells the reporter the cash will be kept hidden in a chest at her branch: “Ye kahin leak nahin hoga. Humne aapse kya liya wo hum kahin nahin dene wale. Humare yahan chest hota hai. Wo wahan pe jayega fir wahan se (We will not leak it anywhere. We are not going to disclose ever what we took from you. We have a chest here. It will go there and from there…).”
Would her bank provide him with a locker to keep Rs. 5–7 crore of black money the politician is expecting in two months? Bhowmik not only agrees but also shows the locker: “Ye jo aap dekh rahe hain Sir, ye ek corner pe hai (The one which you are seeing is in that corner).” Could he put Rs. 5 crore of cash in that locker for safe keeping? Bhowmik says: “Aa jayega (Yes, it can contain it).” She further assures: “Hum aapko teen account khol denge. Hum aapko teen locker dilwa denge aur kyunki yahan par koi andar ja bhi nahin sakta, koi problem nahin hogi. Ismein accha kya hai ki branch khud ki hai to logon ki nazar mein nahin aati (We will open three accounts for you. We will also allot you three lockers, and since people can’t go inside, there would be no problem. The best thing about it is that this is our own branch, so it doesn’t come into the notice of people).” Bhowmik is thus ready to render all possible help, from keeping the cash in the locker of the bank to opening multiple accounts and converting the black money into white.
Is she handling such cash transaction the first time? Or does she have past experience of handling black money? Yes, she is accustomed to handling such transactions, replies Bhowmik: “Main aapko naam nahin bataungi par yahan pe saare bade accounts, bade accounts yahan pe hain, politicians ke bhi hain … aur main kisi ka naam nahin bataoongi. Kisi ko kuch nahin pata ki kiska kya amount hai. Doosri cheez aap update karoge aap chaho to aa sakte ho banking hours ke baad … na koi dekhega kab kya kar rahe ho na. Branch mein single person rahega (I will not disclose the names but we have all big accounts here, including those of politicians, and I will not tell anybody the names. Nobody knows what amount one has with us. There is another thing. Whenever you want to update your account, you may come after banking hours, nobody would see what you are doing. There will be only a single person in the branch).”
Rs. 5–7 crore is due in February. Could the bank help send it to England for someone close to the politician living there? The cash will be in Rs. 500 denominations. Sure, it will be done, as she says: “Ho jayega. Kabhi Sir achanak se aapne kuch paisa daala, kuch paisa daala. Aapke itne saare accounts hain, aapne teeno accounts se remittance kar sakte ho. Ho jayega (It will be done. Sometimes, Sir, you deposit some money at once. You have so many accounts, and you can do it through remittance from three accounts. It will be done).” What this bank official is suggesting is that black money could be sent abroad.
Priyanka Bhowmik’s reaction to the investigation: While accepting what the reporter had already discussed with her. She said she has nothing to talk about when we informed her that it is going to be exposed in a press conference.

 


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