IndusInd Bank, Case 3: S. Mishra, Branch Manager; Amita, Operations Manager, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

cobrapost - May 27, 2013

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IndusInd Bank, Case 3: S. Mishra, Branch Manager; Amita, Operations Manager, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Smart and savvy, the women bankers are fully aware of the loopholes that can fix every problem a person loaded with black money can have. And Mishra is experienced enough to offer the best help with a smile.

Walking into this branch of IndusInd Bank somewhere in the cyber city of Hyderabad, the Cobrapost journalist meets Operations Manager Amita, at the front desk. As soon as our reporter tells her his purpose, she starts the discussion with some details on schemes – the Family Income Builder Plan and the Dhan Briddhi Plan. The seriousness of the long-term investment of a big amount gathers momentum, and Branch Manager S. Mishra comes out to join the discussion.

Our reporter suggests them to discuss our proposition in a separate room because of its sensitive nature, he is promptly taken to the Branch Manager’s chamber.

We explain again that the investment has to be done in three names – the minister’s wife, his frontman, that is the reporter himself, and his wife. It is the minister’s money, and it has to be invested in some long-term schemes that give good, guaranteed returns. We would like to start with Rs. 50 lakh, and if the going is good, we will increase the amount. Our choice of this bank is explained by the fact that we stay nearby.

She explains the Family Income Builder scheme which has guaranteed returns, the investments doubling after 12 years, along with insurance coverage. It has 80C benefits, as well as tax-free returns. It seems nice and we inform them that the investment will be in cash.

That doesn’t seem to matter one bit, and Mishra brushes it off: “Wo toh hum baad mein karenge (We will do that part later).”

What if the 80C benefit would have to be claimed, we point out.

Mishra says: “Aap jab dikhayenge tab ki baat hai … aaj toh aap dikhayenge nahin (Leave it for the time when you would show it … you are not going to show it today).”

Great logic!

An understanding Mishra knows what we exactly want: “Aapka main intension hi ye hai ki long term ke baad jab wo paisa aaye, white me aajaye … ye hi apka intension hai (Your main intension is that when you get the money after the long-term, it should be ‘white’, isn’t it?).”

That’s why we want to go into long-term investments, we agree.

“Tax-free white mein paisa aata hai (The money comes in white, tax-free),” she reiterates.

We get deeper into the scheme (a tie-up of the bank with AVIVA), and it seems likeable.

So how are FDs deficient in what we want to do? We ask the banker.

She explains, counting the points off on her fingers: “FD me aap ko 9 per cent tak milta hai … aapka ek toh TDS katega, immediate white mein aapko show hoga … FD ke case mein abhi RBI ka rule aaya hai ki 50,000 ke upar cash mein FD ho hi nahin sakti (You will get 9 percent in FD, which would be with TDS. It will immediately show as white. In case of FD, RBI has come up with a rule under which, it is not possible to invest more than Rs 50,000 in cash in FD).”

So will this scheme be able to take in all the cash?

Amita says: “Isme hum log alternative bhi de sakte (We can give you an alternatives too).”

The branch manager reiterates the point: “Hum bank ke through kuch na kuch alternative bana sakte hain (We can arrange for some alternative through the bank).”

This, we insist, should be safe.

She also explains that the maximum amount investible in a year in one scheme is restricted to Rs. 5 lakh. But that would take care of only a small portion of the available cash. So can we do another such policy?

Mishra says: “Next month karana chahe aap doosre account se kara sakte (You can do it next month through another account, if you want).”

We suggest that we will do two policies per person. She has no problem with that, except that it has to wait: “Kum se kum is policy ka poora bond aapke paas aa raha hai pandrah din ke baad … next month kar sakte ho (At least the bond for this policy will be reaching you after 15 days … you can do it next month).”

We calculate the returns and we say we like it because the paybacks will be in white, along with handsome returns. Thankfully, we don’t require to submit our PAN card. Our ID proof, address proof and a photograph will do.

In closing this particular deal, we advise her that when she talks to the minister in the evening, she should tell him three points: Investment would be doubled, there is insurance coverage and all the ‘black’ money would be converted into ‘white’. She readily agrees.

But we have more cash at home to invest. So we ask her for schemes for a big amount with handsome returns.

Says Mishra: “Handsome bhi aayega … white aayega, Income Tax question bhi nahin karega … saat saal ke baad jo bhi fund insurance company se aata hai usme Income Tax question nahin kar sakta (It will be handsome, in white and IT will not question it. The Income Tax [Department} cannot question the source of any fund that comes through insurance after 7 years).”

Then comes another gem of advice from the manager: “Aur jo paisa Madam ke naam se Sir lagayenge, woh Streedhan me aata hai … ek form hota hai … madam agar sign kar deti hain toh bhagwan na kare agar kabhi kuch Income Tax ki raids bhi parti hai toh bhi ye particular policy, Streedhan mein aati hai, wo touch nahin kar sakta (And the money that Sir [the minister] will invest in [his wife] Madam’s name will come under Streedhan. There is a form and if Madam signs it, even if there is an Income Tax raid, they will not be able to touch this particular policy).” A large portion of the black money will then be moved out of the reach of the law for good.

She agrees that she would get that form signed by the minister’s and the reporter’s wives.

As things work out smoothly, we exchange phone numbers.

She then explains her modus operandi. “Cash de do … usme hum … cash mein kabhi policy nahin hote … cash ko DD mein convert karenge, fir (You give the cash … a policy cannot be bought with cash … first, we will convert the cash into DDs).”

We say that will be your responsibility, but the transaction has to be through methods that have already been used.

Amita explains that manoeuvrings that can be done with this policy cannot be done in FDs. She suggests another policy for a one-time long-term investment, Dhan Briddhi, a money-back policy, with guaranteed returns. We can invest up to Rs. 10 lakh each.

But how much ‘black’ money can we put into this?

Says Amita: “Wo arrangements toh mujhe karani padegi … ekbaar humlog Ok ho jayein fir main (I will make those arrangements … let us Ok this first, then I will).”

She explains further: “Aane wala problem nahin hai … problem humein daalne wala hi hai (There is no problem with regard to the money that will come to you … the problem is for putting in [the cash]).”

So there will be problems in investing the black money?

The banker is quick to deny: “Nahin nahin … aisa kuch nahin hai (No, nothing of that sort).”

The banker would send a doctor over to our place to conduct the medical check-up.

This is a five-star service.

Then we can invest the black money?

Amita says it is their problem: “Ab humare sar pe hai … ki cash kis tarah se … split karein … ye humein abhi sochna hoga (Now our headache will be how to split the cash … something we will have to think about).” They accept, however, that this was the bank’s problem which they will handle.

This policy too will require same KYC documents. However, Branch Manager Mishra has a difficult demand: “Mujhe lekin ITR deni padegi (But you will have to give me your ITR).”
Basically, we will have to provide the PAN.
In that case won’t the Income Tax people ask us how we got the cash in the first place?

The branch manager nods her head and after thinking for some moment: “PAN card aap denge, lekin hum PAN card me ye aapka kahin bhi nahin show karenge ki apne itna amount invest kiya… woh hamare information ke liye PAN card hota hai. (We will have the PAN, but we will never show how much you invested. That is only for our information).”

So, that is all for the bankers’ safety? And we do not have any risk? We ask.

“100 percent,” says the branch manager.

Have you done this before?

Boasts Mishra: “Aapko jo Streedhan wala option humne jo diya is liye … ki hamein pata hai … dus saal ka experience hai as a branch manager (The Streedhan option I gave you only because I know … I have 10 years of experience as a branch manager).”

We then move to the other issue, one of transferring cash out of India. So we talk about an NRI account. Mishra says: “Uske liye passport, visa (For that you will need passport and visa).”

We remind her that it is a tourist visa.
Replies Mishra: “No problem.”

We say that we want to move a big amount of money out of the country to Jordan where the minister’s wife keeps going. This cash will also be in black.

The branch manager quickly informs us about the documents needed for such an account. It will be the same as KYC for normal accounts, except that the passport and visa requirements are in addition.

How do we do this? Can we give you cash for this also?

Says Mishra: “Usme ekbaar account ko chota amount se start hota hai, uske baad (The account starts with a small amount, and then…)”

When we give you cash here, can we withdraw that in Jordan?

Replies Mishra: “Remittance karna parega … ya wire transfer (Remittance will be done … or wire transfer).”

Savita tells us that the bank does not have a branch there.

We wish to clarify further. So how would this happen?

Suggests Savita: “Hum aapke account mein daal denge … aap mujhe ek letter bhejenge ki itna paisa wohan bhej dijiye, hum bhej denge (We will put the amount in your account … you will give me a letter saying that this money has to be sent there).”

Then would you ask how I got so much money?

Replied Savita: “Aaya nahin … kahan ja raha hai ye poochenge … ek letter lenge aap se (Not the source … the destination of funds will be questioned … we’ll take a letter from you).”

She further briefs us on the reasons that can be cited for sending the money abroad: “Jordan kahan ja rahe hain … kiske liye ja aha hain … education ke liye … investment ke liye … family expenses ke liye (Where is it going to in Jordan, for what purpose … for education … for investment … for family expenses).”

We could thus send money abroad with the help of her bank on such simple pretexts as we can state.

And how do we do it? We ask.

It is not so complicated, as she tells us: “Aap se details le loongi … bus (I will take the details from you … that’s all).”

We dig a little more. What will we show?

The Operations Manager asks: “Actually … aap kisko bhej rahe hian (Actually, who are you sending the money to)?”

We bring the cat out of the bag: We just want to take the money out of the country, period.

We explain that the minister’s wife wants to send it to family members there.

Suggests Amita: “So wohi bus … woh hi daal dijiyega … family expenses ke liye hum apne relatives ko bhej rahe hain (Ok, that’s it … cite the same reason … say that you are sending it to relatives for family expenses).”

But when we put money into the account won’t we be asked questions about its source, in cash?

When you have a smart banker like Amita, then that is not a problem: “Uspe humein kuch na kuch letter to dena hi padega … wo formality ke liye hai Sir … wo main kawa doongi … wo formality k liye letter toh doongi main lekin usko us tarah se doongi ki madam ke father ne property bechi … gift kar diya unko paise … aisa kuch (We will have to give a letter for that … it’s for formality sake Sir … I’ll get it done … for the sake of formality, I shall give the letter but, in a way which would suggest that Madam’s father has sold a property and has gifted them this money or something like that).”

She assures: “Agar main galat transaction ya galat entry karoon toh aapko kuch nahin hoga, meri naukri jayegi (If I do a wrong transaction or make a wrong entry, nothing will happen to you … I will lose my job).”

We say that the bigger question is that if the name of the minister comes out then his entire political career will be finished.

Assures Anita: “Aisa nahin hota (Nothing of that sort happens).”

We say we have Rs. 10 crore to send abroad.

She says you cannot, obviously, send it in one go: “Chota chota kar ke hi bhejenge … ek saath aap 10 crore bhejenge toh … (Will send it in small chunks … if you send Rs. 10 crore in one go, then … ).”

To be safe, we ask the branch manager to discuss the issue with her senior. Since she reports to the central office, and that is in Mumbai, she assures us that when she will do the accounting part, she will surely take into confidence her senior in that area. Thus, the banking system gets involved.

Have you done such transactions in the past?

Mishra is an old hand: “Mein bata rahi hoon ki main khud in cheezon ko bahut deal kar chuki hoon … kitne IAS officer ke account open kiye hain … mamaji ke chakkar mein (I am telling you that I have done many such deals … I have opened many IAS officers’ accounts because of my Uncle).” Her uncle is a politician, and an ex-minister, we have been told.

Are there more politicians around here with this?

There are plenty but Mishra won’t tell us who they are: “Bahut hain … main aapko thodi na bataoongi kaun kaun (There are many … but I will not tell you who they are).”
We fix a meeting for the evening and leave.

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