cobrapost - February 22, 2018

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A stream of reassurances from Kumar and Aastha on how to turn black money into white

The Cobrapost journalist strolls into this Noida branch of ICICI Bank in Uttar Pradesh and recites his request to Business Manager N. Kumar: a well-known minister wants to invest a ‘handsome amount’ of black money in a long-term plan, to convert it into white and earn good returns.
Kumar is new to this branch. He suggests, like others, GSIP which is a guaranteed savings insurance plan. He says it is the best if the investor is looking for long-term investment with secured, tax-free returns: “Insurance add isliye kara gaya hai kyunki paisa tax-free ata hai … warna ye saving plan hai (Insurance has been added to this plan only because it brings tax-free money …Otherwise, it is as good as a saving plan).”

The journalist tells Kumar that the main purpose is to make the black money white. How would it be possible to deposit cash with the bank for investment? Should he go through an account? Nodding in agreement, Kumar suggests: “Account mein daal dijiye aap, wahan se DD banwa lijiye … account mein daalte hi DD banwa lenge (Put it in the account and get DD through it … once you put it in the account we will immediately get a DD made).” This way, the black money can be routed into a safe investment instrument, PAN or no PAN.

Meanwhile, Deputy Branch Manager Aastha joins in the discussion. Both agree that the best way to invest a large sum in cash would be to route it through a bank account. Aastha says: “Theek hai account khol lein aur cash aap kitna (All right, open an account and how much cash you) … what would be the amount that you would be depositing.”

Whatever is comfortable, says the frontman. He has no problem as along as Rs. 50 lakh is invested in cash in a secured manner without it coming to the notice of the Income Tax authorities. Aastha: “In a day, I would suggest less than 10 lakhs.”

But would that keep the tax officials at bay? Aastha says: “Actually wo saari cheezein tab aati hain jab aap cash tansaction log karte hain … Jahaan par dus lakh ke upar ki cash transactions in a day ho jata hai, wahan par mere ko report karna padta hai … isiliye maine aapko bola ki ek din aapne aath lakh kar diya, next day chaliye aapne kuch nahin kiya, maybe after 2 days aapne aath lakh aur kar diya (Actually all such things crop up only when a cash transaction is logged in … whenever the transaction is over 10 lakh, only then do I have to report. That’s why I told you … one day you deposit 8 lakh, then the next day you do nothing and then after 2 days you deposit another 8 lakh).” This is how an amount of Rs. 50 lakh could be routed through the accounts into investment.

How do we describe the source of funds? Kumar adds his two cents: “Aise ek doh pehle bhi maine cases kiye hain, usmein zyada politician ke bhi hote hain … apni wife ko kahin na kahin, kisi industry mein ya kahin aise show karte hain (in the past I have done one or two such cases … among such cases mostly are of politicians … they show their wives in some industry … things like that).”

Has she ever handled such cash investment of a crore? Aastha admits: “Sir, ek crore bhi daala hai aur usse zyada ki bhi daala hai (In the past I have done similar transactions of a crore and even more).”

But what if he gave them the PAN and the investment is traced by the Income Tax people? Aastha assures the reporter that this is a safe route: “Sir … Income Tax wale tabhi details mangte hain jab wo multiple transactions hote hain dus lakh se upar … iski details to hum … nahin Sir iski details bank se koi nahin mangta …matlab aap jab invest karte hain to humare se jo detail mangi jaati hai ya Income Tax wale jo humein notice bhi dete hain wo ye dete hain kisne cash mein transactions kiye zyada … is cheez ka aata is cheez ka nahin aata ki kisne investment kahan kiya (Sir … Income Tax people ask for details only when there are multiple transactions exceeding Rs. 10 lakh. The details of this we … no Sir, nobody asks the bank for details of this. I mean when you invest whatever details are sought from us or the Income Tax people send us the notice … they ask who has done the maximum cash transactions … they ask for only this much. They don’t send the notice seeking details who has made what investments and where).” It means the cash will be routed through the account without the IT people raising a finger.

So, through the account the money gets routed into insurance? Aastha: “Haan. Ye ICICI Prudential mein chala jayega … bank mein nahin rahega (Yes. It will go into ICICI Prudential. It won’t stay with the bank).”

Now the locker question. Aastha could not help here as she did not have any lockers but all was not lost. Could she have a bit more time as the branch was expecting delivery of lockers, she asked.

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Tags : icici-bank-case-4


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