Cobrapost - April 27, 2014

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LIC of India Case 2, M. Khanna, Assistant Branch Manager, K. Joshi, LIC Agent, Gurgaon, Haryana’

If you have crores to invest, both the LIC officials and the agents will lend you help make it white, even get you fake PAN

The Cobrapost journalist walks into the office of K. Joshi, the local LIC agent, in Gurgaon. But Joshi is not in his office and after trying on phone to contact him for some time, he decides to leave the place. However, the man appears and our reporter gets back into his office. Taking a seat, he rattles off the purpose of his visit: He wants to invest Rs. 50–60 lakh in some insurance plan.

Joshi tells him about some one-time investment plan. A finicky customer that our reporter is, he has an eye for detail on what he is going to get in return, when, how much and how long.

But when Joshi asks what his calling is, he tells him he dabbles in property. Joshi next asks what would be the mode of payment of premium. It will all be in cash, our reporter says.
Says Joshi: “Ho jayega, ho jayega (It will be done).”

Nothing can be better than this.

Our reporter tells him if the returns are good enough, he is willing to put in more money. This goads Joshi to tell us in detail another plan in which if we have to invest Rs. 75 lakh. The best part of this plan is you can avail of a loan of Rs. 60 lakh the same day you invest your money.
Unbelievable, exclaims our reporter. You must be joking.

Replies Joshi: “Same day loan ho jayega Sir. Black ko white karne ka isse acha tareeka nahin (It will be sanctioned the same day Sir. No method is better than this to make your black money white).” Joshi has understood well the purpose of investment: Make our money white.

I can’t believe, says our reporter. It is too good to be true.

Joshi offers to take him to one of the woman managers of the LIC of India and immediately contacts her on phone.

If it is really true, says the reporter, then he will close the deal today itself and put in his money in this plan.

After the LIC agent has briefed the woman manager about the proposed investment of Rs. 60–70 lakh, both decide to visit the LIC office close by and discuss the plan with the officer.

While walking to the LIC office our reporter asks about the formalities about the loan and telling him that he would bring all the money straight to the branch, he asks Joshi not to press for his PAN card.

Says Joshi: “PAN card dena padega (You will have to give PAN card).”

If we give our PAN card then we will have to show it all in our books, and then you know what will happen. So, manage it with PAN card, our demanding reporter tells Joshi.
Cajoles Joshi: “AA jao (You come).”

Our reporter asks him to clearly tell the insurance official that it has to be done without PAN. How will be able to make it white, otherwise? The point is we don’t want to show it in our income.

Joshi says: “Bank mein cheque daaloge income mein hi aya karega wo toh … ki kahan se aya paisa (When you will remit the cheque in bank then won’t it be taken as your income … then how will you explain from where you got the money).”

Then it will be problematic for us, cribs the reporter. Try to understand the point.
Joshi says reassuringly: “Bataoonga aapko … nahin hoga toh … land sale ki hai koi (I will tell you … if it doesn’t work … you have sold some land).”

On the escalator, the reporter comes to know that LIC doesn’t make any customer profile for any kind of investment.

Joshi goes on to claim: “Already yahan LIC mein aise aise agent hain jinka annual commission dus crore, pandrah crore (Already, here in LIC there are such agents who earn an annual commission of Rs. 10 crore, 15 crore).”

Talking of such sundry things, we reach the LIC office and are brought into the presence of the woman officer, Assistant Branch Manager M. Khanna. Khanna is first busy on phone and then with some other persons, perhaps, an agent to be. After she has done away with the person, Joshi introduces our reporter to her.

Pleasantries over, both parties come straight to talking business. Our reporter tells her about the plan Bima Bachat, suggested by her agent Joshi, in which after investing Rs. 71 lakh he can borrow Rs. 50 lakh. This opens up the discussion.

Khanna begins to tell the merits of the plan: “Best hai … kyonki jo … jaise aap paisa block nahin karna chahte … aapko immediately 63 per cent milne lagta hai (It is the best … because … like if you don’t want to block the money … you get 63 per cent immediately).

The reporter tells her that as her agent has told him if we invested Rs. 71 lakh, the very next day we can avail of a loan of Rs. 60 lakh.

Khanna swears: “Hundred per cent guarantee deti hoon (I give you 100 per cent guarantee).”
It is fine, says the reporter, the money is ready with me. But the point is if we invest with LIC what if you point out later that our file is not complete and you are going for an inquiry into it.

In other words, when you assure that it is going to be hassle free for us only then would we invest our money with you.

Assuring us such things will never happen, Khanna says: “Bus bus source of … jo wo ayega … source kaisa hai … jaise land sale se hai … kahan se hai … wo mujhe poora chahiye hoga bus (I only need the source of … which will come … for example, you have done a land sale … from where … I will need the details that is all).”

But what we have is all in cash, says our reporter.

Khanna says: “Cash ka hai to kahin source toh hoga na kyonki anti-ML guidelines hain humare saath … aapka matlab paisa bank ke through aata hai cheque mein toh bank ki statement aa gayi … koi problem nahin (If it is in cash then it must have its source somewhere because we have to follow anti-ML guidelines … I mean if the money comes through the bank then we will have a copy of its statement … there is no problem).”

Understand it Madam, says our reporter. We don’t want to show it in our books. Then pointing to the agent, he says, he told me you can put in your money here and it will become white.

Khanna is insistent on the source: “Fir source kaise karoge … aapke kahan se … abhi jo land ki deal wagaireh kar rahe ho … kaise kar rahe ho … kahan se (Then how will you do about the source … from where you … the land deals you are doing … how are you doing it … from where).”

Suppose, I don’t apply for a loan, surmises our reporter.

Khanna says taking a loan will only help us to make our money white: “It’s ok … loan lena toh bahut badhiya hai … loan se white ho jayega (It is ok … availing of a loan is all the better … loan will make it white).”

That is why we have approached you, our reporter is quick to say.
Khanna reiterates: “Wo toh white ho jayega … lekin jo paisa humare paas aa raha hai … usko source dikhana padega na (That will become white … but the money coming to us … you will have to reveal its source).”

What a dampener it is!

It will be problematic, says our reporter grudgingly, when you know how property deals are done in cash. We had bought plots of land from the authority at cheap prices way back.
Although willing to help, she nonetheless insists: “Sale deed hogi aapke paas (You must be having sale deed).”

Understand the problem, Madam, says our reporter. How can we show such transactions as our legitimate income? Now, the minister, I am working for him, has asked me to sell his industrial plot and we have around Rs. 34 crore to invest out of the sales proceeds. We don’t want to keep you in dark. The reporter raises the stakes.

This gets Khanna in a thinking mode, while Joshi says: “Main samajh gaya (I got it).”
Both Khanna and Joshi ask the reporter if he has paid stamp duty on the sales proceeds.
Khanna asks: “Uski chaar per cent aapne wo di hogi … stamp duty di hogi … wo kuch nahin hai (You must have paid 4 per cent duty on that … you don’t have anything like that).”

The minister doesn’t want to reveal his identity, the reporter says. That is why I am doing the job for him and it has to be done in my name only.

Khanna asks: “Property aapke naam se hogi (Property must be in your name)?”

Yes, it is in my name, says the reporter. Then the reporter goes on to tell them how the ICICI people told him a very tedious, circuitous method to invest. I am better off if I choose not to go with them. Then I contacted Mr. Joshi and was assured it will be done. Please do it only when you have already done the cases of our type. We want it to be safe.

Picking her phone, a thinking Khanna says: “Sir se baat kar leti hoon (Let me speak to Sir).”

Chips in Joshi: “Jo hum karenge on paper (Whatever we will do that will be on paper).”

While Khanna is trying to contact her boss on phone, Joshi tells our reporter: “Jo hum kahenge … hum jo karenge guaranteed hogi (Whatever we will tell you … whatever we will do will be guaranteed).”

In the meanwhile, Khanna is able to contact her boss. Khanna to her boss on phone: “Hello, haan Sir Sir … lagta hai mere pas cash aa gaya hai … sattar–assi lakh … haan Sir … sattar–assi lakh … Bima Bachat mein kar denge … kaise show kaise karenge … show nahin karna chahte …PAN Number mil jayega… family members teen char honge … kahan se shuru karein … paisa toh property ka hai lekin show nahin karna chahte … [turning to the reporter] passbook ki copy de denge … Usmein transaction toh ayi hongi … paisa toh kal parson mein aur aa jayega agar aap bolenge toh … abhi maine branch manager se baat nahin karayi hai…… Sir Bima Bachat hai … agar sattar lakh rupaye cash toh ek crore ki policy dalegi … tees lakh ka [looking at the reporter] age?…thirty-three … SUC forty-three lakh ho jayega … ek crore sum assured denge … tabhi toh sattar lakh ayega … main aapko call karoongi (Hello, yes Sir, Sir … looks like I have got the cash … 70–80 lakh … yes Sir … 70–80 lakh … will put in Bima Bachat … how will he show … he doesn’t want to show … we will have PAN number … there must be three–four family members … from where should we begin … the money is from property … [turning to the reporter] … will you give the copy of your passbook … there must have been transactions … if you say more money will come in a day or two … I have not got him speak with the branch manager … Sir it is Bima Bachat … if the money is Rs. 70 lakh cash then it will be a policy of Rs. 1 crore … [looking at the reporter] … age? Thirty-three … SUC will be 43 lakh … we will give a sum assured of Rs. 1 crore only then will it be 70–80 lakh … I will call you).”

In the meanwhile, Joshi tells our reporter how we can make more black money white if we do what he suggests.

The talk over, a relaxed Khanna says: “Manager se baat kar lein … zaroori hai … ho jayega sub (Speak to the manager, it is needed … it will be done).”

It is not the branch manager who Khanna has spoken to but some higher on the hierarchy of the LIC. We don’t mind if she does this for us by taking into confidence her superiors. Keeping the higher-ups in the loop makes the business such as ours a safe bet.

We know our crores of black money are going to find a right till to make it white.

Now, our reporter seeks more education on the plan. Khanna promptly gives him a brochure detailing all the features of the plan and then educates him on the returns apart from the 63 per cent loan that we will get to make it white instantaneously.

Meanwhile, her superior has called her back and speaking to him she turns to our reporter to ask: “Teen chaar logon ke naam karke kar dein policy (Let us do the policy in the names of three–four persons).”

No problem, replies the reporter as promptly.

Khanna continues talking on the phone: “Theek hai Sir … theek hai Sir … main utni hi kar deti hoon associate branch level ki ho jayegi … theek hai Sir… theek hai Sir … haanji … wo nahin show karna chahte … show nahin karna chahte kuch … political family hai … theek hai Sir … theek hai Sir (Alright Sir … alright Sir … I will do up to only that … will done at associate branch level … alright Sir … alright Sir … yes … they don’t want to show it … don’t want to show it … it is some political family … alright Sir … alright Sir).”

The call over, Khanna says: “Unka … unhone bataya hai … branch level pe hi nikaal denge… lekin usko break kar dete hain (His … he has told me … it will be cleared at the branch level itself … but we will have to break it).”

You mean, asks the reporter, the money should be split.
Khanna nods in agreement to ask: “Teen–chaar logon ka ho jayega na (Will you manage three–four people)?” It is clear that Khanna wants to split the money and invest the same in the names of different individuals.

But then there is moratorium on minimum age of children to become beneficiary of an insurance policy. So, the maximum number of persons that can be insured is two, as involving others will be risky.

Khanna agrees: “Family ka banda ho toh … (If it is a family member …).”
LIC Agent Joshi interjects: “Normal start karo … zyada mat daalo … bees bees lakh se start karo (Start it in a normal way … don’t put in much money … start with Rs. 20 lakh).”

After much discussion, it is decided that we would go for two policies of Rs. 25 lakh each. The loan will be granted the very next day of buying the policies. As Khanna ventures to provide us the break-up of the returns on our investment, our reporter asks her how he will get the money back.

Khanna is quick to reply: “Aapke bank mein direct ayega … cheque nahin denge (It will be credited direct to your bank account … we will not give a cheque).”

I didn’t get you, wonders our reporter.

Explains Khanna: “Aapko paisa chahiye na loan ka …NFT ka form hota hai … matlab aapke bank direct bank mein transfer ho jayega (You need a loan … there is an NFT form … I mean it will transferred direct into your bank account).”

Oh you are telling me of the loan! I am talking of the returns, says the reporter. Whatever returns are there will they come to us by cheque and will become white?

Nodding in agreement: “Wo bhi aapka account khulega na … account mein hi aa jayega direct … aapko zaroorat hi nahin (That will too, when your account will open, come direct into your account … there is no need to worry).”

Will there be any taxes, asks our demanding reporter.

Khanna avers quoting an income tax provision: “Nahin nahin … survival benefit hai sabse badhiya baat to yehi hai … LIC ka paisa 10-D jo hai Section humara income tax ka usmein tax free hai (No, no … the best thing about this is it has survival benefits … under Section 10-D the money you invest with LIC is tax free).”

Khanna seeks bank statements and PAN card of both our reporter and his wife.

Says Khanna: “Aapki dono ki bank statement chahiye … PAN number dono ke chahiye hoga (We require bank statement of both of you … PAN number of both is also required).”

What are you talking Madam? If we give you our bank statement and PAN card, says our reporter, it would be like inviting trouble from Income Tax Department as they will soon come to know we have invested our money with LIC. And then I have already told this gentleman, your agent, to facilitate investment without PAN card.

Khanna says the system will not work without PAN: “PAN number ke bina toh system hi nahin chalega na … PAN number toh apne data mein dena hi hai (The system won’t work without PAN number … you have to give your PAN number in the data).”

As I had already told you agent, if we give our PAN, the Income Tax authorities will come running after us.

Khanna tries to convince us: “Income Tax wale kitne ka uthate hain … aise thode na uthate hain har jageh … kitne ka uthate hain (How many cases do the Income Tax people pick up … they don’t pick up from every place … how many do they pick up).” She further says that the system won’t pick up the transaction if PAN is not entered there.

What you say is fine, insists our reporter, but then if there are even 1 per cent chances of it then we will be in trouble.

She tries to reassure again: “Pahle to waisa to hota hi nahi hai … nahi to CA toh guide karne ka liye hai hi na … show nahin karna chahte ho … aap jo kah rahe ho na 1 per cent ki ummeed bhi … 99 per cent kaun kiske paas fursat padi hai (First, such things don’t happen … otherwise CA is there to guide you … you don’t want to show it … as you say there is 1 per cent chance … 99 per cent chance is that they are too busy).”

But do it if you have already done cases like ours, our reporter seeks more assurance. Khanna informs she has recently done a case where the client paid Rs. 18 lakh. But was it in cash, asks the reporter to ascertain if he could take the plunge. No, it was not of cash it of cheque.

It doesn’t instill confidence in us. Tell us if you have done a case in cash like ours and the fellows didn’t face any problem later, says our reporter, like his money was returned.

LIC Agent K. Joshi chips in: “Usse pahle Pankaj Sharma ne lagaya tha baais laakh lagaya tha (Before that Pankaj Sharma had invested Rs. 22 lakh).”

Khanna suggests our reporter to opt for a smaller policy. It will be of no use, retorts our reporter. We are beginning with Rs. 50 lakh and will put more money if everything goes fine. It all depends on the condition that we don’t face any problem.

Khanna is quick to come with this assurance: “Aaapko kahin nahin … signature hum de rahe hain na … signature hum de rahe hain … signature main doongi (You will have it nowhere … I am giving my signature … I am giving my signature … I will give my signature).” We never knew her autograph carries so much weight that our investment will never come to question.

Would you explain what this signature is, asks our reporter.

Khanna says: “Matlab humari report … main doongi (I mean our report … I will give it).”

What Khanna is saying is that she will prepare a client report under her signatures favouring the proposal of investment. What else we need if we get such a report, and we are not talking to a minion here for Khanna is Assistant Branch Manager. Giving the reporter her visiting card,

Khanna assures us that if need be her agent Joshi will help. Joshi is a troubleshooter, she says.

Our reporter says that he is making all these inquiries to look into every aspect of investment and get convinced.

Says Khanna: “Client ka paisa bank ke through humare paas bahut aata hai lekin bus wo PAN number wale hain … bank statement de dete hain bus … kuch nahin … sochne ki zaroorat nahin (We receive a lot of money of our clients through banks … the only thing is they give their PAN number … give their bank statement … nothing … you don’t have to think).”

Does Khanna mean many customers use banks to invest their black money in LIC products employing means not so fair? We would never insinuate.

Khanna’s praise of Joshi prompts him to proffer: “Aap man bana lo … mere paas hul hai uska (You decide … I have a solution for it).”

Tell us the solution, please, says the reporter.

Joshi says: “PAN card banwa doonga alag se … PAN card banwa doonga alag se (I will get you made a separate PAN card … I will get you a separate PAN card).”

What about the original one, asks the reporter.

Suggests Joshi: “Wo tumhara chal raha hai … ismein isko daal denge … khatam karo (Let that be wherever you are using it … we will use this one here … that is all).”

How long it would take to get another PAN card, asks the reporter. Only four days, says Joshi.
Avers Joshi: “Jab aapne hum pe trust kiya hai toh hum itna nahin kar sakte (When you are trusting us so much, shouldn’t I do you this little favour).”

Meanwhile, Khanna has taken up other tasks but she is attentive to what is transpiring between the reporter and the agent.

Turning to her, our reporter says we would go by the solution Joshi has suggested.
Joshi goes on to claim before Khanna could say something: “Ho jayega chinta na karo (It will be done, don’t worry).”

Turning to her agent a beaming Khanna says: “Main officially inko bol nahin sakti … main samajh rahi hoon … PAN card toh karwao inse … kyomki mera bhi system nahin leta …. aap kya de rahe hain kya nahin (I can’t tell him officially … I understand it … get the PAN card done from him … because my system won’t take it … whatever you are giving).”

Joshi turns out to be a real troubleshooter.

So, everything will be done at your end, says our reporter. Khanna nods in agreement.

Our reporter now raises the stakes, happy as he is, and asks the insurers that if everything works well how much more he can invest. Khanna says she will first discuss with her head office in Janakpuri, Delhi.

That is still better, says our reporter, and ask the gentlemen exactly how much can be invested. We can invest anything between Rs. 4 crore and Rs. 10 crore.

This leads them into a discussion mode with Khanna coming up with her own idea about how best we can invest, whereas Joshi suggests a pension plan. This is what exactly we want, says our reporter. Khanna tells her agent something which is safe.

Says Joshi: “PAN number pehle main ye process shuru karta hoon (Let me first start the process of PAN number).”

Fine, says our reporter, and asks them to tell if they have helped some of their customers this way and they never faced any problem.

Khanna is quick to refuse: “Main aapko naam disclose nahin karoongi … dekhiye wo toh humara confidential hota hai … agar koi aapka poochega hum usse bhi nahin batayenge … koi problem nahin hai (I will not disclose you the names … look that is confidential for us … if someone asks us we will never tell him … there is no problem).”

Joshi says: “Hain bahut se (There are many).”

Reassured thus, our reporter is now relaxed and talks about sundry things like the mode of payment, should he deposit the cash at the counter of her branch, when he would get the receipt, when he would get the policy documents. He will get the receipt then and there, he is told, and the policy document will be printed the very next day. She then asks Joshi to get all the client details.

Khanna asks the reporter when he intends to bring in the cash: “Aap mere ko aaj ka bata dena kitne baje tak … mein counter khula rakhoongi (Tell me at what time you will bring it … I will keep the counter open for you).”

We have the money ready with us, says the reporter, and I will do it today itself. First, let me sit with your agent and I will finalize it at once. The sooner we get rid of the cash the better, he says.

Thus satisfied our reporter leaves with Joshi to his office telling her that investment of Rs. 50 lakh is a done deal. Before leaving, our reporter asks Khanna to seek the advice of her superiors on his proposition. Khanna agrees: “Haanji baat kar loongi (Yes, I will talk).”

On their way back, our reporter tells Joshi that he will have to seek consent of the minister whose money he is investing. After a long wait, they get into the escalator where Joshi introduces our reporter to someone: “Ye Shyam Gopal hain … ye PAN card ka kaam karte hain (This is Shyam Gopal … he deals in PAN cards).”

Our reporter asks Gopal how long it will take to get him a new PAN card.
Gopal returns: “Pandrah din ke andar aa jayega (It will come within 15 days).” Gopal then asks the reporter to show him the older one.

Back in his office, when asked Joshi claims to have a client who recently invested Rs. 4 crore. Gopal on his part gives him a PAN application form and marks the places where the applicant is required to sign on. He says there are no documents required except a photograph. Joshi also gives details in black and white on the insurance plans, pension and endowment. The meeting ends with assurance from Joshi that he would take care of everything.

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Operation 136: Part 1


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