ARCHIVE OPERATION BLACK NINJA: COVER STORY

OPERATION BLACK NINJA: COVER STORY

OPERATION BLACK NINJA: COVER STORY


By Cobrapost.com - November 29, 2014


Operation Black Ninja: Sell Me Houses to Launder My Ill-Gotten Millions

Cobrapost exposes how 35 real estate companies are willing to take illicit money and convert it into legit by allowing their clients to buy properties. Promising to do bulk property transactions ranging from 10 per cent to 90 per cent in black money are two real estate company CMDs, 10 managing directors, 15 directors and executive directors, three CEOs and COOs, a president and a vice-president, two AVPs, four heads of marketing and sales, three general managers, three assistant general managers and many other senior employees. One employee even offers to take Rs. 100 crore in black and convert it to white with help from non-banking finance companies in a clear violation of Income Tax laws, Foreign Exchange Management Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act and others. Senior officials said that accepting payments in black was nothing new for them and that it was an accepted norm of the real estate industry. Some of these real estate officials are caught on camera ready to accept black money abroad via hawala. All this endorses the fact that rampant use of black money is a well-known reality of the realty sector in India.

In an investigation lasting more than 18 months, Cobrapost found 35 real estate companies with a pan-India presence across nine states willing to do bulk transactions in black money. These companies admit helping their clients convert black money into white by letting them pay in cash a substantial part of the sale price of the properties they buy, in blatant violation of Income Tax laws, Foreign Exchange Management Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act and other laws. The black money component in these deals ranges from 10 per cent to 90 per cent. In one instance, a developer’s employee was even willing to accept Rs. 100 crore in black money. Senior officials said that accepting payments in black was nothing new for them and that it was an accepted norm of the real estate industry. They were willing to accept hard cash in any city and even abroad, through hawala. Some were ready to sell a property before all mandatory approvals are attained, knowing fully well that this is illegal. A senior executive of a company suggests depositing the entire component of the deal in a bank account which will be closed as soon as it is credited.

The 35 companies that Cobrapost investigated in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kochi are Ajnara India Ltd, Earth Infrastructures Ltd, Mahagun Group, Prateek Group, Sarvottam Group, Lakhani Builders Pvt Ltd, Lodha Group, Kanchhal Group, Raheja Developers, Shalimar Corporation Ltd, Geoworks Realty Pvt Ltd, Investors Forum India, SVP Builders (I) Ltd, Rajput Properties & Developers Pvt Ltd, International Land Developers Pvt Ltd, Fortune Infra Developers Pvt Ltd, Manglam Build-Developers Ltd, Godawari Developers, Rudra Buildwell Projects Pvt Ltd, Shri Group, Plus Projects Pvt Ltd, RG Group, ABW Infrastructure Ltd, Alpine Housing Development Corporation Ltd, Antriksh Group, National Builders, Okay Plus Builders & Developers, Janapriya Engineers Syndicate Pvt Ltd, Bamatech, Archies Projects Pvt Ltd, Asten Realtors Pvt Ltd, Vibgyor Housing Ltd, Travancore Builders Pvt Ltd, Vedic Realty Pvt Ltd and Concorde Group. The combined turnover of these companies—spread across Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka—would run into thousands of crores.

Taking an alias, Cobrapost correspondent Mohammad Hizbullah approached these companies with an offer of buying properties in bulk on behalf of a prominent politician he was supposedly working for. He put a rider to this prospective bulk deal: a significant part of the payment will be made in black. The intent of the politician is to convert his black money into white. Almost all officials of these companies readily agreed to do the favour, throwing open a host of methods to help launder their client’s money. A summary of how these companies proposed to launder the money of a fictitious politician is given as follows:

 

  • They agreed to accept black money ranging from 10 to 90 per cent of the unit price.
  • Many of them agreed to collect cash from cities other than their operational bases, even from countries such as Dubai via hawala. Some said they do this all the time.
  • They would understate the sale price of the property so that the buyer can save on stamp duty.
  • They proposed to sell an undeveloped property even without obtaining necessary approvals for the project, a grossly illegal act.
  • Putting the entire black component on their table is a precondition for some developers to close a deal.
  • In other instances, particularly in case of a newly developed project, they would show only the book value of the said property at the time of registry, again not on par with prevailing market prices.
  • Some confessed to have been dealing in black money in the past and that it was nothing new for them.
  • They agreed to accept black money ranging from 10 to 90 per cent of the unit price.
  • Many of them agreed to collect cash from cities other than their operational bases, even from countries such as Dubai via hawala. Some said they do this all the time.
  • They would understate the sale price of the property so that the buyer can save on stamp duty.
  • They proposed to sell an undeveloped property even without obtaining necessary approvals for the project, a grossly illegal act.
  • Putting the entire black component on their table is a precondition for some developers to close a deal.
  • In other instances, particularly in case of a newly developed project, they would show only the book value of the said property at the time of registry, again not on par with prevailing market prices.
  • Some confessed to have been dealing in black money in the past and that it was nothing new for them.

Greedy for the politician’s millions, one enterprising money launderer asked the Cobrapost correspondent to deposit all the black component of the deal — Rs. 50 lakh per unit and approximately Rs. 22 crore for all units — in a bank account which will be closed as soon as it is credited. Listen to what Suman Banerjee of the Calcutta-based Vedic Realty is saying: “Main aapko account number de doonga, theek hai bank number de doonga account number de doonga … wo account mein jayega humein wo confirm kar denge mil gaya. Uske baad account hi band ho jayega (I will give you an account number, I will give you a bank number … as soon as the money is credited to our account, they [the bank] will confirm. After that the account will be closed).”

It was in the course of Cobrapost’s Operation Red Spider when we had last heard how banks help launder ill-gotten money. Now, we know how real estate companies also launder money using regular banking channels. Deepak Lodha of Mumbai-based Lodha Group shares an anecdote with us: “Chori karna gunah nahi hai, chori karke pakde jana gunah hai (Stealing is not a crime, getting caught after stealing is a crime).”

Well this can be said of the realty business in India where the rampant use of black money is a well-known reality. It is pertinent in view of the findings of the exposé that the government authorities investigate these real estate companies. A timely remedial measure to stem the rot in real estate sector and make it more transparent for both developers and buyers will be the passage of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill by Parliament, although few would agree the legislation would be able to weed out the use of black money.

The investigation covered the states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Given here are excerpts of the case studies that Cobrapost correspondent Hizbullah has exposed in the course of undercover operation.

Ashok Gupta, managing director, Ajnara India Ltd

Ajnara India Ltd boasts of numerous awards for outstanding contribution in the growth of Noida and Greater Noida. Our correspondent gets a flavour of the business culture at Ajnara India Ltd. in his very first meeting with the sales staff. The salesman informs the correspondent with undiluted candidness that the builder is colour agnostic when it comes to money. Ill-gotten or otherwise, all wealth is welcome. In the words of the broker, “Builder wise koi dikkat nahin hoti. yahaan kachaa bhi hazam hai aur pakka bhi hazam (Builder-wise there is no problem. He can digest black money as well as white money)”.

Armed with this inside information, our correspondent makes his way to the office of Ajnara Group’s managing director, Ashok Gupta. Gupta does not take very long to warm up to the idea of dealing in black money. He offers to operate in a safe mode that can escape the radar of IT authorites. He says “safe rate hai maan ke chalo 20-25 per cent (you can assume 20-25 per cent to be a safe rate)”. But that is not the end of the conversation because Gupta can do one better. He raises the black component to a generous 50 percent! He says, “50-50 kar do usko ([we] can make it 50 [black]-50 [white]”. With 50 percent of its client’s black money laundered, who can argue that Ajnara Builders offers complete peace of mind!

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Ajnara India Ltd recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with Ashok Gupta and informing them that the story is being published on our website and sought their reactions. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Bilal Aslam, senior manager; Atul Gupta, joint managing director, and Bushra Aslam, associate vice president, Earth Infrastructures Ltd, Noida Sector 16

Earth Infrastructures Ltd is yet another company which claims to carve a niché in the real estate market. Meeting senior manager Bilal Aslam makes it very clear how the group does business. The Cobrapost correspondent wants to know what percentage of the transaction amount can be adjusted against black money. Aslam replies without batting an eyelid, “60 per cent kar loonga. Waise hum karte nahin hain lekin main baat karke karwa doonga agar aap kahoge to… mere khyaal se 50-50 ka option last hota hai. Agar aap kahoge to main 60-40 karwa doonga (I will make it 60 per cent. We normally don’t do this but for you I will talk [to higher authorities] and get it done [arrange for accepting black money]. I think 50-50 is the last option. But for you I will try to arrange 60[black] 40[white])”.

Bilal Aslam will not only go the extra mile to raise the bar to 60 per cent, he will do one better. He tells the correspondent that he can arrange for the cash to be collected overseas through hawala. Bilal says: “Chennai se kara lenge hum…aapko main bata deta hoonpayment kahaan se uthwaani hai kitni uthwaani hai woh hamaara tension haipayment karaana.. pehledeal tohfinal ho jaae, woh toh baad ki baat hai..MalaysiaDubai Singapore Bangkok jahaan se aap kahoge hum khud hi utha lengepayment (We will get it done from Chennai… I will tell you where to pick up payment from and how much, that is our tension to organize payment… let us first finalise the deal, payment is a later issue. Malaysia, Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok… wherever you say we will collect payment from there).

Clearly, Earth Infrastructures Ltd seems to have a wide network of financial dealings across the world. Our correspondent decides to verify the claims of this senior manager and meets the top management of Earth Infrastructures Ltd. Atul Gupta is the joint managing director of Earth Infrastructure, and he is ‘the man known for achieving on time, every time’. The correspondent asks him how much of black he will adjust in the transaction and pat comes the answer, “60 per cent kar lengay (we will do 60 per cent)”. Gupta reassures the correspondent that he will take care of his black money. He will also organize for the money to be collected through hawala but all of that only after he sees some money. He says, “Sir token lekar baithainge tabhi baat ho paaegi (Sir, we can have further conversation only after you present a token [amount])”.

Present at the same meeting is associate vice president of the group, Bushra Aslam. She picks up the conversation where Atul Gupta leaves and reassures the correspondent that all his concerns would be addressed. She says, “Woh saara hawala ke through hoga, sab ho jaega..woh sab kuch hum khud regularlytransaction karte hain..usme koiproblem nahin hai (All that will be done through hawala … we do such transactions regularly… there is no problem in that)”. The disturbing clarity and brevity of Bushra Aslam’s assurance leaves us speechless.

When contacted for his clarification after the story, Atul Gupta says that he is in Dubai. He adds that he does not want to say anything over the phone and will talk only when the correspondent meets him. Associate vice president Bushra Aslam denies ever saying she will take black money. She says: “Meri apse koi baat nahin hui hai… jo bhi hoga legal mein hum dekhenge, meri koi baat nahin hui apse white black ke adjustment ki (I didn’t talk anything about it [black money]… whatever happens we will see legally… I never talked about white-black adjustment).”

Dhiraj Jain, director and Manvir Singh, senior manager – marketing, Mahagun, Sec. 62 Noida

Mahagun is a name that performs. Well, at least that is what this real estate group claims. Hizbullah meets the senior sales manager of the group to assess the strength of the foundation of the group. Manvir Singh is senior sales manager and a very busy man but he makes time for the big deal that the correspondent brings to the table. When asked about the percentage of black money he can adjust in the deal, Singh promptly answers: “40 per cent. 40-60 nahin hoga. 50-50 tak baat kar sakte hai (40-60 is not possible. We can talk about 50-50).” 60 per cent is not possible, but he can talk to his senior and raise the ratio of black money to 50 per cent.

Now if 50 per cent of the transaction is not on paper, how is Singh going to justify the significantly low white component of the transaction? Singh says: “Condition bata denge hum log na… semi-finish flat likh denge (We will tell the condition … we will say it is a semi-furnished flat).”

Our correspondent is then curious if indeed a fully furnished property will be delivered when the records show the status of the property as “semi-furnished’? Singh reassures Hizbullah with the confidence that comes only with experience. He says: “Ensure karna padega dost, faith karna hoga company pe. Ab tak mere paas agar main Mahagun ki baat karunga toh kareeeb 30 per cent logon ne yehi karwaya hai, aisa hi karwaya hai, mere yahaan pe agreement (You will have to have faith in the company my friend. In Mahagun 30 per cent of the transactions have been done in this manner through an agreement)”.

Is this ironical or what? The company that hides its revenue from the authorities is advising its clients to repose their faith in the company! Now can the Mahagun Group pick up the black money from Dubai? Singh’s answer is not a surprise and leaves no room for doubt. He says: “Theek hai aisa karte hain. Aisa bhi kar sakte hain na hum (All right we can do that. We can do that also)”. Delighted with the customer service offered so far, the correspondent asks for a meeting with Dhiraj Jain, who is a director with Mahagun Group. Singh agrees to oblige but not without adding a word of caution. In his words, “Mil to lenge lekin black ki baat sir nahin karenge… matlab woh avoid karte hain in sab cheezon ko… black ki baat karna, haan semi finish ki baat kar sakte hain …payment lene ki baat hogi toh woh directly baat nahin karenge..50 log hote hain, kisi ka bharosa nahin hai…. (He will meet but sir will not talk about black… I mean he avoids these things… talk about black… you can talk about semi finish… when it comes to payment he will not talk directly… there are 50 people… can’t trust anybody).”

Singh then tells Hizbullah how he manages the risky consequences of hawala dealing. In his words, “Agar suppose aapko Chennai se uthwa liya maan lijiye toh mujhe koi banda bhejna padega – gaadi mein aaega kisme aaega chaar jagah checking ho gayee woh ho gayee.. woh sab cheezein woh manage bhi karni hai (Suppose we pick up from Chennai then we will have to send a person… whether he will travel in a vehicle or some other mode, he will go to four different places, there will be checking in all those places… we have to manage all those things)”. The hawala system is so well organized such that every crisis is pre-empted.

The correspondent meets the kingpin who silently ensures the quiet and smooth functioning of the greasy machinery at Mahagun. Dhiraj Jain is a master of delegation. When the correspondent brings up the subject of black money, he turns to his deputy Manvir Singh and says, “Aap sir ko bahar lejakar samjhao na (Take sir outside and explain it to him).” Singh complies and he explains to the correspondent: “Black ki baat nahi kartey… par meri baat ho jayegi… 50 per cent aap yahan kara dengey.. bahar mey Dubai sey uthwa lengey who sab baat ho gai hai koi dikkat nahi hai (He doesn’t talk about black… but I have talked to him… it will happen… you give 50 per cent here… 50 per cent we will pick from outside, from Dubai… we have discussed everything. There is no problem)”.

Singh further explains that the boss wants to stay out of trouble. He says: “Yeh jo boss hain kissi scandal mey who fans gaye… mai fans jaunga toh mera kuch nahi hoga, woh fans jayengay toh bohot kuch ho jata hai… koi boss nahi commitment karega.” (If the boss gets involved in a scandal… if I get involved nothing will happen to me… if he gets involved then a lot happens… boss will not commit anything).” Indeed the boss will not make an official commitment. However, Mahagun is a name that truly delivers. And how!

When the Cobrapost correspondent called Dhiraj Jain for his reaction before the story goes online, he asks him to talk to Manvir Singh, who remembers the meeting. When reminded of his willingness to accept black money, Singh is still very open to it. However, when he is told that he is talking to a journalist from Cobrapost, he says: “Woh to mujhe matlab ek saal pehle baat hui thi, kya kya baat hui thi ye to sab cheezein recall nahi ho sakti na (All that happened a year ago, all that can’t be recalled now).” He then flatly denies talking about the black money aspect. “Nahi nahi mere uske regarding koi baat nahi hui 50 per cent black aur mei to aapko receipt issue kar sakta tha kisi bhi cheez ka (No no, we didn’t talk about 50 per cent black money and I would have issued a receipt to you).”

Prashant Tiwari, chairman and managing director; Shivang, sales executive; Manish Yadav, senior manager (sales), Prateek Group

Prateek Group claims to engage in “creating landmarks and setting benchmarks”. The Cobrapost correspondent meets Shivang, a sales executive of this ambitious real estate group. A direct question posed to him elicits a direct answer. So the big question is whether Prateek Group can accommodate black money in its property transaction? Shivang replies: “Butwoh toh hoti hi hai sirwoh toh adjustment toh hoti hi hoti haicash component jitna ho sakta hai woh toh ho hi jaaega… 20-25 per cent tak (but that happens anyway, that adjustment always happens. [we will accommodate] cash component as much as we can)”.

Shivang further voices the financial policy of the management at Prateek Group. He says that the management knows the best manner of keeping the black money invisible. In his words, “Abmanagement ki baat hai na, kahaan tak use chhupa sakte hain. Jahaan tak chhupa sakte hain chhupa denge. Easily chhupa dete hain. Who bhi toh zaroori hai na? (It depends on the management how much they can hide the [black] money. They will keep as much [black money] under cover as they possibly can. They can do it very easily. After all, it is in their interest as well, isn’t it?)”

If you thought the sales executive of Prateek Group was encouraging, meet senior sales manager Manish Yadav. The correspondent did not have to even bring up the subject of black money. The first question he poses to the correspondent is: “Payment kaise karenge? Saare Number1 mein or 1 aur 2 mix  karake? (How will you make the payment? Everything in number 1 [white] or a mix of one and two?” Clearly, Yadav has served many such customers in the past and knows exactly how much black money can be easily consumed by the system. He tells the correspondent: “30 toh hum kar lenge 30-35 tak kar lenge 50 dekhte hain…agar aap keh rahe hain, baat karte hain (We will do 30 [per cent]… 30-35 is possible. We will have to see about 50… If you are saying, we’ll talk and see).”

When the Cobrapost correspondent emphasizes that the primary objective is to launder the politician’s black money, Yadav is prompt in his assurance: “Haan pata hai woh tohcommon si baat hai… khapaana hai woh toh common si baat hai.. (Yes I know. That is very common. It has to be used up, that is a very common matter)”. Clearly, Yadav understands his client very well. And he understands that black money is the foundation of the real estate industry, right from the time that the state government allots the plots. Yadav tell his client that he has to pay black money to the state government as bribe for allotting the plots to Prateek Group., “Allotment karaya hai toh unko bhi toh jaaegi… toh khapa denge… (When they have done the allotment we have to pay them… so we will use it).”

This conversation is a sordid statement of the state of the times. If Yadav is to be believed, this is also solid proof of the state government’s complicity in the black money racket. One wonders if the committee investigating Indian money stashed away in Swiss banks should instead focus in-house.

Finally it is time to meet the chairman and managing director of Prateek Group, Prashant Tiwari. Again, a straight question elicits a straight answer from Prashant Tiwari when he is asked the ratio of black money that can be fused into the system. Tiwari tells the correspondent: “Kachha le lenge …60-40 ho jaaega (We will take raw…60-40 will be done)”. And that’s not all. At the end of the meeting, the chairman of Prateek Group leaves his client with delightful words of encouragement: “Ek deal ho jae phir doosri par toh bahut scope khul jaaega… jitna hai sab khafa denge usmein koi dikkat nahin hai (Let the first deal happen..then there is a lot of scope… we will accommodate the entire amount… there is no problem in that)”. Indeed, that is setting a benchmark in the business of real estate.

Later, when contacted by the correspondent for his comment about accepting black money, Prashant Tiwari says: “Humein nahin pata, humse koi baat nahin hui (I don’t know, there was no talk with me)” and disconnects the call. When the Cobrapost correspondent calls him for his reaction to their conversation about taking black money and that it was recorded, Manish Yadav says: “Publish karne ja rahe hain wo toh badiya hai, apki baat jo record hui hain wo hi hamare paas bhi record hui hain… Jitne aap journalist ho utne jada MD hun main bhi apki chizen dekh raha hun na ki aap kon ho kya ho (You are going to publish it, that is a good thing, you have recorded, we have also recorded… You are a journalist, I am also an MD, I am also seeing your things, who you are, what you are)”.

Anil Kumar, managing director; Rajesh Maheshwari, marketing director, Sarvottam Group

Sarvottam Group helps your dreams come true, or so it claims. Rajesh Maheswari is marketing director with this real estate group making the tall claim. The Cobrapost correspondent puts a direct question to Maheshwari: “How much black money can be adjusted in a bulk purchase of property?” Maheshwari gives an equally direct answer: “Aaj ki datemein toh 60-40 chal sakta hai”(These days it is possible do 60-40)”. When asked if he can raise it any higher, Maheshwari replies, “40 to 50 tak la sakte hain 50-50 kar sakte hain (We can raise 40 to 50, 50-50)”.

Impressed by Maheshwari’s confidence, the correspondent enquires if that could cause any trouble? Maheshwari opines with remarkable confidence that beyond the circle rate, any under-the-table transaction is no business of the government. He says, “aaj ji datemein toh 60 40 hi chal sakta hai.. 3,800 rupay ke hisab se registrychargedena padega. Aapne hamein kya paymentdiya hai thatisnoneofthebusinessofgovernment (These days, one can only do 60-40. We have to pay registration charges on Rs. 3,800. Beyond that, what you give to me is no business of the government)”.

Very well then. How exactly is he going to justify the pricing to the authorities? Maheshwari advises his client that his company is well equipped in managing the records of such transactions. After the client makes the payment, Sarvottam Group generates random entries of expenditure in its record books. Those random entries are reflected as billed to the client, in the process, laundering the entire amount of black money pumped into the deal. He tells the correspondent, “Hum haan appkowhite kientry dila denge.. woh humaari zimmedaari hogi, woh hum kar lenge (We will give you some entries in white… … that will be our responsibility, we can do it)”. Clearly, Maheshwari is very well aware of the nature of his clients and he is well poised to cater to their requirements. In his own words, “Main samajhta hoon aapke paas zyada component toh cash ka hi hoga..woh cash component mein phir aapko dikkat aati haiwhite part karne mein (I understand you must have a lot of black money… it must be difficult to convert it into white)”.

Maheshwari adds that there are counting machines for the purpose. He says: “Company mein paise toh aate hi hain..kisi ne 5 crore rupay lagaane hain toh woh crore rupay lekar aa jae toh, machine toh rehti hi hai hamaare paas. Ek ghante ka kaam hota hai sab yaheen ho jaata hai (Money comes to the company… someone puts Rs. 5 crore, he comes with it… we always have a machine… It is a one-hour work, it happens here itself).”

Awestruck by the enterprise of the marketing director, he Cobrapost correspondent now meets Anil Kumar, the managing director of Sarvottam Group. It is in the very first meeting with Kumar that one realizes that the culture of customer satisfaction in this company indeed flows from the top.

Anil Kumar promptly suggests to his client that the black component of the transaction will be secured through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two parties. He says, “Cash kaMoU alagsign kar lenge (We will sign a separate MoU for cash)”. When the correspondent expresses his insecurity over the validity of the MoU, Kumar says: “Bhai yeh to vishwas ke oopar hai… khareedo vishwas pe (it is based on trust, brother. Make a purchase based on trust)”. Upon the correspondent’s insistence for some documented proof, Kumar adds: “Phir ek kaam kar sakte hain, cheque issue kar denge tumhaara.. security cheque de dengecompany ki taraf se (Then we can do one other thing, we can issue a cheque for you… we can issue a security cheque on behalf of the company)”. Kumar adds that this will act as security against the black money that his client invests as cash.

Kumar further informs his client why cash transactions in real estate business are not as simple as they were in the past because there are new rules that have been put in place which have come into effect from April 1, 2014. He says: “First April se pehle koi dikkat nahin thi…circle rate ke koi maainey nahin rakhte.Ab kya hua first April se jo wahaan kacircle rate hai usee par aapko len den karna padega …aajkal income tax waale waise hi bhaage phirte hain peeche (There was no problem prior to April 1. Circle rates had no significance. Ever since April 1, it has been ruled that all property transactions will have to be based on the circle rate… the income tax people are anyway on their toes these days)”.

Just when we thought Kumar may just be wary of one rule of income tax law, he makes yet another offer to his client, in the same breath, where he can infuse 90 per cent as black component. He says: “Tum merimeetingkarwao phir main ek proposal doonga baad mein… Hundredand one aapsafe rahoge isme aapko 50 flat de denge, hai ek mere paas scheme aur (You organize my meeting [with you boss], then I will give you another proposal after that. You will be 101 per cent safe in this. We will give you 50 flats. I have a good scheme)”.

Clearly, income tax rules are for others, not for Sarvottam Group, which is busy laundering the black money of its loaded clients.

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Anil Kumar recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Later, when our correspondent tells Maheshwari he is from Cobrapost and reminds him about his promise of accepting black money, he says: “Mainey cash payment ki baat kit hi, adjustmet ki nahi … receipt banti hai na… humnay pehli baar he bol diya tha ki receipt bana kar dengay (I had talked about cash payment, not cash adjustment… I had said earlier that we will give a receipt).”

Karthik Ramachandran, director-cum-CEO, Raheja Developers; and Chetan, property dealer, Saket, New Delhi

Synonymous with real estate in the country, Raheja Developers need no introduction. When the Cobrapost correspondent proposes to buy 60 units of residential property for a big politician from south India, director-cum-CEO Karthik Ramachandran would not talk business until he meets the client. In such big deals, he tells the correspondent, “It is very necessary that we understand who the customer is.” How big a black component can he adjust in the deal? Ramachandran replies in this typical way to a straight question: “Aap bolo (You tell me) … you give me an offer .. you give me an offer that is there … unka kya hai? (what does he want?) … what is in his mind?”

The correspondent tells him that the politician wants the black money component to be 40-50 per cent of the unit sale price that has been quoted between Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs. 2 crore. Ramachandran is forthcoming but non-committal: “Wo dekh lenge jab deal structure hoga we will see that … waise as an organization we don’t (That we will see … when we will structure the deal we will see that, although as an organization we don’t).” Then there are KYC norms to be met, he says, and then, he goes on to add, “We can structure … we can structure.” He is willing but leaves the issue open.

As the parleys move on, Ramachandran expresses his apprehension pointing to the mobile phone the correspondent is carrying: “Aaj kal ke log kya karte hain … asie hi aa jaate hain aise hi jaise aapne Galaxy rakha hai ye rakha hai (Nowadays people just walk in … as you have kept here this Galaxy).” It is this fear of being exposed by a journalist who walks in posing as a customer that has held Ramachandran back, as he admits, little realizing that this is exactly what is going to happen. “Business discussion mein hum log bahut bol deta hoon … main aise hi bol deta hoon ki don’t worry structure kar sakte hain … kal TV pe ayega ki Raheja CEO … (During business discussion, we usually say a lot of things … I too say don’t worry we can structure it … tomorrow it will be shown on TV that Raheja CEO …).”

But Ramachandran warms up eventually. He admits that adjusting 50 per cent black money in the deal is not a big deal. Explaining that it is simply a matter of being prepared for such a deal, his colleague Chetan adds: “It’s just a mutual agreement aapko bhi pata hai Raheja ko bhi pata hai (It’s just a mutual agreement … you know it so does Raheja).”

Now, Ramachandran is willing to accept the black component of the deal in Dubai where he stays with his family. Look where Ramachandran is asking for the money to be paid: “Bahar kahin de do (Give the money anywhere abroad).” Where? Replies the Raheja CEO, “Dubai.” He goes on to add: “Done deal … done.” Raheja has an office there. So, receiving money there is no problem. It can be collected even in Sharjah. Listen to what Ramachandran claims on camera: “Sharjah mein koi problem nahi hai aap jab bolenge hum pahunch jayenge wahan (There is no problem in Sharjah … when you tell us we will be there).”

All things settled, Ramachandran leaves it to Chetan to deal with their big-ticket client’s front man. Since black money is involved, Chetan explains, they will underinvoice the deal to bring it at par with the prevalent circle rates, and black money is adjusted accordingly. Chetan goes on to claim: “Maine waise kal bhi aapko comfort diya tha ki hum karte hain … toh I am a living example ki ye sab possible hai … kaise karna hai uska procedure main aapko samjha doonga (I had comforted you yesterday that we do it [deal in black money] … I am a living example [to tell you] that this is all possible … how it has to be done, I will explain it to you).”

Finally, Chetan commits to accommodate 50 per cent of black money in the deal. He assures the Cobrapost correspondent: “Inse main 50 boloonga (I will tell him to adjust 50 per cent).” It will be convenient to both parties.

Replying to a mail from Cobrapost asking whether Raheja Developers accept black money while selling properties, Dimple Bhardwaj, general manager, Corp.

Communications, Raheja Developers Limited, said: “Please be informed we do
not indulge in such malpractises at all, as an ethical organisation.”

Deepak Lodha, Lodha Group, Dombivili (East), Mumbai

With several landmark projects dotting the Mumbai skyline to its credit, Lodha Group is a name to reckon with in real estate. A trendsetter, Lodha Group is developing more than 35 million squar feet of properties in upscale locations.

Our reporter is introduced to Deepak Lodha who claims to be the Director of Lodha Group. He comes across as an astute businessman who would not disappoint a prospective client. When the Cobrapost correspondent discusses the big deal with him and suggests if he could accommodate some cash component as well, Lodha assures with suitable promptness, “Kar doonga (Will do it).” According to him, the cash component will be accommodated keeping in view the prevailing market price of the unit. “Upar ka hoga wo main kar … (The margin above that I will …),” he says. He goes on to explain that the prevailing circle rate of the units will be paid in white. “Haan … circle rate 3,800 matlab 32 lakh ka cheque ho jayega (Yes … on a circle rate of Rs. 3,800, you will pay Rs. 32 lakh by cheque).”

Then Lodha gives a convoluted idea of accommodating 30 per cent of the deal price in black. After registering an agreement for sale, he suggests, he will make a supplementary agreement to help the client claim back compensation against faulty tiling, flooring, electrical fittings and so on. The compensation will be paid by his company by cheque, and then the same can be deposited in black. “Toh seedha 30 per cent chala jayega 2,40,000 wahan par pahunchna hai … chori karna gunah nahi hai chori karke pakde jana gunah hai (So, 30 per cent will go there straightaway … 2,40,000 will go there … stealing is not a crime … getting caught after stealing is a crime).” This is how Lodha will help his client launder money.

Replying to a mail from Cobrapost seeking their reaction, Lodha Group’s corporate communications team said: “Please note, the said individual is not associated with Lodha Group’s operations. We would request you to please contact him directly for any confirmations you need.”

Sunder Lakhani, director, Lakhani Builders and Developers, Vashi, Navi Mumbai

A broker takes the Cobrapost correspondent to meet Sunder Lakhani, director of the Navi-Mumbai-based Lakhani Builders and Developers, a reputed real estate company credited with redeveloping Navi Mumbai. A man of commitment, Lakhani does not mind talking black money unabashedly. After the preliminary discussion, when the broker bluntly asks Lakhani how much black money he can accommodate, Lakhani in turn asks: “Aapko kitna chahiye (How much do you want).” Between 30 and 40 per cent, says the correspondent. Lakhani reassures without batting an eyelid: “Theek hai … possession bhi time par ho jayega, cash bhi jitna bol rahe ho utna le lenge aapse … aur bataiye (Ok … you will get the possession on time … will accept cash to the extent you want … tell me anything else you want).”

Lakhani also gives his word in writing that the client will get possession of the apartment before 2016.

When asked later for his reaction on his agreeing to accept black money, Sunder Lakhani threatens the correspondent: “Aap mujhe kal aakar mere office mein milo mei mera reaction batata hun. Aapke office ka address de dijiye mera aadmi aa jayega aapko reaction batane (Meet me in my office tomorrow and I’ll give you my reaction. Give me your office address, my man will go and give you the reaction).”

Amit Kanchhal, managing director; Prashant Gupta, general manager, Kanchhal Group, Lucknow

Barely in four years of existence, the Kanchhal Group has seen a meteoric rise with the Builder Council of India adjudging it the Best Real Estate Consultant. It is learnt that the company is selling 200 properties on an average at a time when the market is witnessing a slump. However, the company management does not like to play it with a straight bat, as the Cobrapost correspondent found out. Dealing in black money is a routine for both its general manager Prashant Gupta and managing director Amit Kanchhal, although there are compulsions inherent to the trade.

Gupta talks straight when the Cobrapost correspondent asks him how much black money they would adjust in the deal. “Fifty-fifty kar denge (Will adjust up to 50 per cent),” says Gupta. Would there be any problem in registering the property? “Koi dikkat nahi (There is no problem).” The catch is the property is registered at circle rates, which are 60-70 per cent of the unit sale price of the property. Listen to Gupta: “Agar circle rate par jayenge toh lagbhag circle rate wahan ka 60–70, 62 per cent hoga … wo utna chalta hai … usmein aisi koi dikkat nahi (If we go by the circle rate, then the circle rate will be 60–70, 62 per cent of the price … that will do … there is no problem as such).”

Black money is part and parcel of business here, as Gupta claims to reassure the correspondent: “Sab black white aata hai sab 50–50 pe aata hai humare yahan (We accept 50-50 black-white money).”

According to him, in some cases the ratio of black money component goes to 60 per cent of the unit price in the deal. The correspondent seeks the same favour. It could be done for a single unit, says Gupta, but not for a bulk deal of 42 units that the correspondent has sought to buy from his company. For a unit or two, the black money component could go up to 80 per cent, selling it as a gift or showing the buyer as a freedom fighter’s relative.

While explaining how they have to grease the palms of every official in the government—be it the development authority or the forest department—to secure a No Objection Certificate (NOC), managing director Amit Kanchhal is also forthcoming on accommodating black money. “Cash ka 50–50 karna chaho 50–50 kar denge (If you want to pay 50 per cent by cash, we will accept that).”

Kanchhal would walk an extra mile to meet the needs of his client, even get the cash collected from Dubai when the correspondent asks him if he could do that. Says Kanchhal: “Main baat kar loonga cash aa jayega … 4 crore ek Mohammed ka … main baat kar raha hoon … baaat karta hoon abhi main bilkul confirm baat karta hoon (I will discuss to get the cash here … Rs. 4 crore for someone called Mohammed … I am going to talk … I will talk right away to get it confirmed).” Kanchhal promptly calls up someone in Dubai asking him to arrange for collection of cash there and deliver it to him in India. Listen to the conversation he is holding on the phone: “Haan Rahat bhaiya ji kaise hain … kahan hain … Dubai mein kahan hain … acha ye bataiye Dubai mein agar 4–5 crore cash hai agar usko India mein lana hai toh aa sakta hai … aa jayega na confirm … acha matlab wo koi party yahan flat le raha hai … aap handle lar lijiyega na … theek hai bhaiya aur bataiye (Yes, Rahat brother how are you? Where are you? Ok, tell me if there is a cash of Rs. 4-5 crore kept in Dubai and if it has to be brought to India, is that possible? It can be brought sure, confirm … I mean a party is buying flats here … you please handle it … Ok brother … anything else?).”

After assuring the correspondent that he will arrange for collection of cash from Dubai, obviously through hawala, Kanchhal goes on to promise to enter into an agreement with his client, even issue him an allotment letter, ‘in silent’, although the clearance for his project is still under process with the Lucknow Development Authority. Knowing fully well that selling a property before all approvals are attained is illegal, Kanchhal reassures: “Haan toh silent mein hoga … main koshish karoonga aapko allotment bhi kar doonga lekin cheez bahar nahi padni chahiye (Yes, it will be done in silent … I will try and issue you allotment letter but it should not be disclosed).”

In a nutshell, Kanchhal will a accommodate the black component up to 50 per cent, collect the cash abroad using hawala channels and will finally issue an allotment letter even before the project has been approved by the development authority.

When Cobrapost correspondent Mohammad Hizbullah calls Amit Kanchhal just before releasing this story on our website and tells him that he has been caught on hidden camera willing to accept 40 per cent black money, Amit Kanchhal sings a new tune and says: “Mai toh black money to le he nahi raha hun aaj kal (I am not taking black money these days).” He then says that a lot of people come with black money.

When asked to comment on his agreeing to take black money, Prashant Gupta replies: “Sir maine apse kabhi ye baat kahi hi nahin thi jo bhi baat apki hui thi wo Godawari Developers walon se hui thi (Sir I had never said this, whatever you talked you did with Godawari Developers).” He repeatedly denies talking about black money earlier. “Apko jo bhi karna hai wo kariye meri apse is bare mein koi baat nahin hui thi (Do whatever you want, I never spoke to you about this [black money]).”

Dheeraj Sharma, director (finance); Harendra Kumar, portfolio manager, Investors Forum India, Sector 2, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Investors Forum India (IFI), registered as IFI Realty Pvt. Ltd., has an impressive portfolio in realty trade. However, the trade is tainted with transactions in black money. The Cobrapost correspondent first met Harendra Kumar, portfolio manager, at his Noida office and then Dheeraj Sharma, director (finance), at his Delhi office. Both agreed to accommodate as much as 60 per cent of black component in the deal. Sharma even agreed to arrange for collection of money all the way from Dubai, obviously through hawala.

In his meeting with Harendra Kumar, when the Cobrapost correspondent asked how much black money they can adjust for the properties he would buy on behalf of his master, Kumar assures: “Ismein main aapka 40 toh kara doonga wo toh baat 40 toh kara hi doonga (I will get 40 per cent [of black money] adjusted … I will get 40 per cent adjusted).” When the correspondent asks him to increase the black money component to 60 per cent, Kumar promptly calls up someone called Gyani who tells him that it can be done. Listen to the conversation that Kumar had with his man over phone: “Gyani ji … abhi ismein 24 pe na kitna black adjust kar sakte ho … black kitna adjust kar sakte ho … black 60 per cent ho jayega … theek hai (Gyani ji … how much black you can adjust on this 24 … how much black you can adjust … 60 per cent black will be adjusted … Ok).”

His boss, an affable Dheeraj Sharma is all help when it comes to accommodating black money. “Jaise hoga waise kar lenge. Uski koi dikkat nahi (It will be done the way you want. There is no problem),” says Sharma reassuringly. When asked how big a percentage of black money could be accommodated, Sharma says: “60–40 ratio mein kar lena (You can do it at a 60–40 ratio).” He goes on to add reassuringly: “Kar denge isko ho jayega … usmein koi mushqil nahi (Will do that. There is no problem in it).” Sharma even agrees to conduct black money transaction outside the country: “Dubai mein ho jayegi (It will be done in Dubai).” And they have a man out there who would conduct the transaction. “Wahin ke wahin banda mil jayega wahi collect kar lega saara (A fellow will come to collect [the cash] from there itself).”

Here underquoting the price of a property sold, even less than the prevailing circle rate, is a norm.

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Dhiraj Sharma and Harendra Kumar recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with them and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed them that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Ankur Jindal, COO (sales), SVP Builders (I) Ltd., Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh

Here at SVP Builders of Ghaziabad, the Cobrapost correspondent meets Ankur Jindal, the chief operating officer (sales), who is all help. Asked how much black money they can accept to ink the deal the correspondent put on their table, Jindal says: “Ismein ho jayega ji aapka kareeb 35-40 yahi hoga (We can adjust 35-40 per cent [of black money] in this deal).” To ascertain to what extent they can accommodate black money, the correspondent seeks to know if they can accept 60 per cent of the price in black money. Jindal is not much help as he assures this much: “Kheench ke 40 kar lenge (We can stretch up to 40 per cent maximum).”

Accepting black money beyond this percentage because underselling a property, below the circle rate, would create problem for them. Jindal strikes a note of caution when he observes: “Aapko dikkat hogi toh humein usse zyada dikkat hai … aapse zyada toh aap ye dekhiye customer se zyada toh humein dikkat hai (If you face problem, we will have to face even bigger problem. More than the customer, it is us who have to face problem).” So, Jindal says with finality: “35-40 maximum … usse upar nahin ho payega (35-40 maximum. Won’t be possible beyond that).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Ankur Jindal recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Mayank Pathak, managing director, Geoworks Realty Pvt. Ltd., Sector 9, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

It was a property dealer who introduced the Cobrapost correspondent to Geoworks, a Noida-based real estate developer. The company is pre-launching an ambitious project in which managing director Mayank Pathak has ‘high stakes’. Initially, Pathak is reluctant to even talk about black money, saying: “B component toh hum zyada adjust nahi kar payenge … in fact, mandate toh humara B component ka hai hi nahi (We cannot adjust B component much. In fact, our mandate is that there would be no B component).” The maximum he can accommodate is: “Hum log 10 per cent se zyada toh kisi pe nahi kar payenge (We will not be able to adjust more than 10 per cent).”

A scrupulous Pathak would, however, not shy away from selling a project to buyers before all the approvals have been obtained from various wings of the government, a grossly illegal act. Here, he proposes to sell a property to the correspondent without entering into a formal agreement. He explains the reason: “Abhi kya hai ki main abhi forms aur receipts iss samay nahi kara sakta … theek hai main abhi aapse jo paise le raha hoon allotment ke time pe saara document ek saath karaoonga … aap samajh rahe ho kyonki warna fir allotment ke time wala rate hoga … uss samay launch ho chuki hogi property … main public mein khul ke ad de sakta hoon saare kaam kar sakta hoon main government does not stop me then abhi jo baat ho rahi hai uske kiye main koi I don’t want to create documentary evidence kyonki mere stakes bahut high (I can’t issue you any forms and receipts, Ok. Whatever money I am taking from you, I will issue all documents at the time of allotment. Hope you understand because otherwise the rate prevailing at the time of allotment will apply. By that time, the property would have been already launched. Then, I can advertise openly in public, I can do all the things … the government does not stop me. I don’t want to create documentary evidence for the deal we are discussing because I have very high stakes in it).” The Urban Development Act, according to Pathak, allows a developer to only start booking of the property, but he cannot initiate allotment until environmental clearance is given.

Pathak would also not reject the correspondent’s suggestion to arrange for the collection of black money component from cities as far as Chennai or Bangalore or from Dubai. Pathak says: “I will tell you.” His subordinate, manager Amit Garg, says: “Wo usmein time hai humare paas (We have time for that).”

When we later called Mayank Pathak for his reaction about being willing to accept black money, he said: “Ham totally deny  karte hai (I totally deny it).”

N. Nandanandan Reddy, director marketing; R. Venkateswara Rao, AGM marketing; Akbar Khan, assistant sales manager, Janapriya Engineers Syndicate (P) Ltd., Banjara Hills, Hyderabad

In their nationwide study, AC Nielson, a global market research and analysis body, declared Janapriya Engineers Syndicate as the “Most Preferred Builder” in South India, not once but twice. Whether the Syndicate is a preferred destination with consumers or not, there is no doubt that it can be a preferred destination for those who want to launder their ill-gotten money. Cobrapost correspondent finds the top executives of the company very friendly when it comes to accommodating black money in the big deal that he proposes to them. For instance, assistant sales manager Akbar Khan assures the correspondent, saying: “Hum nahi utna jitna aap bol rahe ho … 45 flats … ki baat karoge toh kuch zyada ho jayega wo … normally hum log lete hain 5-10 per cent lete hain (We don’t take that much you are quoting. If you say [you want to buy] 45 flats … then it can be somewhat more than that. Normally, we accept 5-10 per cent [of black money]).”

However, Khan’s superior R. Venkateswara Rao, AGM marketing, says: “We are not accepting any cash payment or something else everything is in white only.” But Rao does not take long to start singing a different tune, to say: “Right now, we can’t accept it. But coming with a party … party to cash … so that I just will convey. If it is possible, definitely I will call you tomorrow.” What Rao is trying to convey is that if the party comes with cash then it is possible, knowing well that they might lose a big deal otherwise.

Rao agrees to accommodate 30 per cent of black money in the deal but with a rider. Asking the correspondent if he wanted to pay only 70 per cent by cheque and the rest in cash, he says: “In that case 30 per cent you need to pay before making the agreement after this … then only that [sic] we enter the agreement….”

The promises do not stop here. marketing director N. Nandanandan Reddy promises to accommodate 25 per cent of black money in the deal, and when the correspondent persists with his demand that he would like to keep the black money component up to 30 per cent of the deal, Reddy is ready to help after seeking the advice of his boss, the chairman of the company. Says Reddy: “25 per cent se zyada wo toh mushqil hai (More than 25 per cent of that is difficult [to adjust]).” Not only that, Reddy promises to register the properties by undervaluing them, at the prevailing government circle rates. Saying that he would discuss with chairman his demand of keeping black money component at 30 per cent, he goes on to add: “Koshish karenge abhi (Will try right away) that is going to be thinking … then I can discuss with our chairman and at least 25 per cent is confirmed from us.”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to N. Nandanandan Reddy and R. Venkateshwara Rao recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with them and informing them that the story is being published on our website. We informed them that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Amit Handa, executive director; Abhirjit Sah, head – sales and lease, Shri Group, Sector 63, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

With a presence for almost 80 years, Shri Group claims to be the most trusted real estate developer in Mathura region. Franchise India bestowed on it the Best Developer of the Year Award in 2011. Like other companies, Shri Group can be trusted to sequester black money. However, they would commit on it only when the client brings along 10 per cent booking amount to confirm the deal. Quite a cautious approach in these times when you never know the party you dealing with might be an Income Tax official posing as decoy customer.

The Cobrapost correspondent meets Abhirjit Sah, head sales and lease, who has already been briefed by his colleague Ram Pratap, AGM sales. Abhirjit asks the correspondent how much black money has to be adjusted in the deal: “Arre main aapko bol raha hoon aap thoda agar kum kitna matlab abhi main ye nahi bol raha ki decision ja raha hai matlab kitna mein scope hai ki black kitna kum se kum (I will not say that we have taken a decision. Tell me what scope you want us to keep for black money, minimum).” At 40 per cent of the deal, says the correspondent. “Matlab kum se kum 40 per cent hona chahiye (You mean it should be at least 40 per cent),” asks Sah. As the correspondent assures him 90 per cent of the payment would be made upfront, Sah proposes him a property at the rate of Rs. 4,000 per sq ft inclusive all. Sah is quick to give a figure: “4,000 per sq ft rate hai humara … 1,600 ho gaya black ye aap humein upfront doge (Our rate is Rs. 4,000 per sq ft. The black [money] comes to Rs. 1,600. You will pay it upfront).”

Sah seeks to meet the client the correspondent is fronting. Sah also wants to know who the politician is, but his boss executive director Amit Handa rubbishes the idea. Meeting his representative is enough for him. Claiming that he has managed to get such clients 600 flats in Assam, and why should anyone disclose such deals, he asks. It helps establish their links with such powerful politicians as the correspondent is fronting. “Chhattish kaam karane hain humein bhi kal ko (We might have to seek many favours from him),” says Handa.

Handa adds: “Main jab aap 10 per cent booking amount le ke aa jayenge mere paas form aa jayega aap samjhne ki koshish karo mein tab aapse cash ki baat karoonga (When you come along with 10 per cent booking amount … I will get the [application] form, try to understand it, only then would I talk about cash).” The reason in his own words is: “Aap mujhe nahi jaante … ho sakta hai aap Income Tax vibhagh se hi ho (You don’t me … maybe you are from the Income Tax Department).”

Although in principle his company does not deal in cash, he would nonetheless accommodate his customer’s need. Look what Handa says: “Humari company cash mein deal nahi karti right … but duniya mein saari cheezein sab jagah chalti hain toh koi baat kachi karna theek nahi hai koi baat pakki karna theek nahi hai. Jaisa aap kahenge main waisa kar loonga usmein koi issue nahi hai (Our company doesn’t deal in cash, but there are many things that would do in this world. It is no use giving false promises or making a commitment prematurely. Whatever you will say I will manage that. There is no issue).”

When the correspondent wants to have an idea of how much black money he can adjust, Handa says: “.1 per cent bhi idea nahi mil payega, lekin jaisa aap kahenge waisa ho jayega jaise bhi comfort level chahenge wo main kar doonga wo koi issue nahi hai (I can’t give you even .1 per cent idea, but whatever you want will be done, whatever comfort level you want the deal to be I will do that. There is no issue).”

Telling him he would like black money to be kept at 40 per cent of the deal, the correspondent asks him to take the construction cost in white and the rest in black. Agreeing, Handa says with finality: “Aapne aapne jo mere ko kaha wo main kar loonga. Meri taraf se commitment jo hai wo booking amount pe hi milega. Wo baith ke hi hoti hai (What you are telling me that I will do. I will make a commitment only when you give me booking amount. That will happen only when we sit).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Amit Handa recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response. Handa has reportedly left Shri Group. We then mailed Shri Group but they also had not replied till 10.45 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014.

P. Ramesh, executive director; Rajesh Kumar Kasagoni, head marketing and sales, Fortune Infra Developers, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad

The Cobrapost correspondent finds black money is behind the ascending fortunes of Fortune Infra, a Hyderabad-based real estate developer which claims to be the architect of many tony landmarks. If its marketing and sales head Rajesh Kumar Kasagoni would agree to adjust 40 per cent black money in the deal, his superior executive director P. Ramesh has no problem raising the black component to 50 per cent.

Kasagoni responds with suitable promptness when the correspondent asks him if they would accept a chunk of the deal price in cash: “Haan (Yes), no problem.” How much? He says: “60-40.” It apparently means we could pay 40 per cent in black. When the correspondent asks if there will be problems at the time of registration if they were paid 40 per cent in black, Kasagoni says: “No problem … we will take it.”

His boss not only confirms that they will accept black money but also has no problem in converting black money thus received to white in his books. Listen to what Ramesh claims: “Black bahut margin rehta hai black-white bahut margin rehta hai … 40 per cent bol raha hai na (There is a big margin for black. There is a big margin for black-white. You want to 40 per cent black).” It would be better if this could be raised to 50 per cent, the Cobrapost correspondent suggests. “No problem 50 ho, no problem (No problem if it is 50 per cent. No problem).” Estimating the cost of the unit including cost of construction and land, Ramesh says: “Hoon. 6 lakhs wo hai baaki poora black de sakte kuch bhi (Yes. It comes to Rs. 6 lakh. The rest you can pay in black).” He is not worried about Income Tax Department as they do not care about such small transactions.

When contacted for his reaction, P. Ramesh said: “I am not saying anything regarding this. You come and discuss … in our corporate office. Actually what we are discussing last year I didn’t remember actually… I am not doing any black money business Sir here… 90 per cent is not possible… whatever actual government value is there we will take white only”.

Rajesh Kasagoni remembers meeting the correspondent and that he was willing to accept 40 per cent black money even in Dubai. When Hizbullah asks him if this can still be done, Rajesh answers: “Yes, yes.” When Hizbullah reveals that he is from Cobrapost, Rajesh says: “Well actually I am having lunch. This is your number? Same as per last our conversation, same we can follow that one… I didn’t get you properly.” When Hizbullah calls him again, Rajesh says: “I left that company from last one year eight months. I am in a marriage.”

Rajesh Sharma, director; Robin Anand, manager, sales and marketing, Plus Projects, DLF City, Phase-II, Gurgaon

The Cobrapost correspondent here first meets manager-sales and marketing Robin Anand who receives his proposition with expected warmth but would not commit on black money without checking it with his boss.“Black ke liye we need to confirm it first (For black we need to confirm it first).” While speaking on phone to his boss, Anand says: “Haan acha acha theek hai Sir theek hai Sir … Sir wo keh rahe hain Sir 40 per cent maximum hota hai ([To his boss] Yes, right, right, Ok Sir, Ok Sir. [To the correspondent] Sir he is saying 40 per cent maximum can be done).” He then asks the correspondent to come the next day to meet his boss and take the deal forward.

Director Rajesh Sharma asks the correspondent: “Black mein wo aap apni party ki requirement baat karke mere ko aap kahan karte hain kaam (You tell me the requirement of black [money] of your party after speaking to him. Where do you work)?” He is told that the client is a big politician from south India. As the parleys move on, Sharma says: “Aap mujhe apni requirement bataiye ki aap kya chahte hain (You tell me what your requirement is).” We want to keep the black component at about 50-60 per cent, the correspondent tells him. The government has made it mandatory to register a property at the prevailing circle rates, Sharma says, not less than that. He advises the correspondent to wrap the deal within a week. “Fir toh kuch na kuch ho sakti hai baatcheet (Then we can move forward on the deal).” Any delay, they cannot help then.

Sharma suggests: “Aap apni requirement poochhke paise lekar aa jaao karenge kuch na kuch (Come along with money after asking his requirement, then we will do something).” The client wants maximum black money to be adjusted, says the correspondent. But Sharma will move only when he sees the money and says with finality: “Aap aisa hai ki paise lekar aa jao fir main kar doonga unki jobhi requirement hai aap bata do ki ye requirement hai kyonki aisa hai na ki paise saamne ho tabhi toh baat karoon (What you do is bring the money. I will do according to his requirement. The thing is I will discuss further only when I see the money).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Rajesh Sharma recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we could publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Brijendra Kumar Agarwal, chairman; Bhim Agarwal, partner, Godawari Developers, Aliganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

A few minutes into conversation, Bhim Agarwal, a partner with the Lucknow-based real estate developer, is quite comfortable while talking black money. “Boss cash ka wahi apna 30-70 ka ratio hai (Boss, we work on a ratio of 30-70 for cash),” says Bhim. It means one can pay 30 per cent in black while buying a property from Godawari Developers. Bhim goes on to add: “Toh apan koshish ye kar rahe hain ki jo wahan pe flat ki registry ka price hai toh utne tak pe aapke hum No. 1 kar denge baaki aap cash mein kar dijiye (So what we can try is that we can accept the price of the flat at its registry value as prevalent there in No. 1 [white], the rest you can pay in cash).” A property is registered at the prevailing government circle rate which is often quite less than the market price and this leaves ample scope for investment of black money which is what Bhim Agarwal is suggesting.

Chairman Brijendra Kumar Agarwal is, however, willing to lend more help when it comes to adjusting black money in the deal. At the rate of Rs. 25,000 per sq metre, Brijendra works out the cost of registry at 62 per cent of the deal price, which would be obviously paid in white. Taking a cue from him, Bhim is quick to suggest: “60, 60-40 ho jayega (60-40 is possible).”

Seeking confirmation, the correspondent asks if the client has to pay 60 per cent of deal price in white and the rest 40 per cent in black. Brijendra replies promptly: “Haan (Yes).” Will there be any problem at the time of registry, the correspondent again asks. Brijendra is quick to reassure him: “Haan toh aapko koi problem nahi ayegi. 25,000 rupaye metre aapse book mein le lenge baaki under table le lenge. Aapko koi problem nahi ayegi (You will face no problem. We will take money from you through books at the rate of Rs. 25,000 sq metre. The rest you can pay under the table. You will face no problem).”

When the correspondent asks them if money can be paid outside Lucknow or outside the country, Bhim points to his chairman: “Ye inka kaam hai (It is his job).” Offers Brijendra: “Delhi mein hoga toh arrange ho jayega… India ke bahar hum log nahi arrange kara payenge (If it [the cash] is in Delhi, then it will be arranged. We will not be able to arrange it outside India).”  Pointing to Amit Kanchhal of Kanchhal Group, correspondent says he can get it done. Chips in Bhim saying Amit can arrange this in Dubai: “Wo Amit Sir, Amit Sir Dubai mein payment arrange kara denge na aap (Amit Sir, you can arrange for payment in Dubai).” It was, in fact, Kanchhal who took the Cobrapost correspondent to Rudra Developers after the correspondent told him he did not like his project enough to invest his master’s money. “Amit Bhai toh apne international hain, hum log toh nahi hain international (Amit Bhai is an international player, but we are not),” Bhim says.

Just beforegoing online with this story, when our correspondent calls Brijendra Agarwal for his reaction, he goes into denial when told that his willingness to accept black money has been recorded on hidden camera. “Nahin nahin hamare yahan hai hi nahin humne toh koi permit kiya hi nahin tha, tha hamare yahan toh 100 per cent hai… book value (No, no, it is not there at our place, I had not permitted anything… At our place it is 100 per cent… book value),” he says.

Mukesh Khurana, managing director; Sunil Wason, president, Rudra Buildwell Projects Pvt. Ltd., Sector 63, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

The motto of Rudra Buildwell is ‘transparent business fosters growth.’ However, there is little transparent about business here, as the Cobrapost correspondent finds, for black money forms an integral part of business deals here. Sunil Wason is quick to reassure when the correspondent asks him how much black money they could adjust: “Jitna bolenge kar lenge 40-50 kar lenge (Will adjust whatever you want. Will adjust 40–50 per cent).” When the correspondent asks if they could adjust 60 per cent, Wason says: “Kar lenge (Will adjust [that much]).” There would no problem at the time of registry. He assures: “Nahi koi problem nahi ayegi builder–buyer banane se pehle aap jitna marzi adjust kar sakte hain yaar (No, there will be no problem. You can adjust as much [black money] as you want before signing on a builder–buyer agreement).”

When the correspondent asks him if the cash component of the deal could be collected outside of the country, Wason says he would tell after checking with his boss.

However, Mukesh Khurana is non-committal when the correspondent meets him. Khurana would not entertain unless he comes to know who the customer is. Khurana is blunt when he says: “Main aapko kaise judge karoon jab tak aapka koi naam nahi hoga, aapki koi identity nahi hogi (How I can judge when I don’t know your name, when you don’t have an identity).” Telling the correspondent that it is essential to tell the background of the client, he says he will open his cards only when he comes to know how serious is the client: “Sir, dekhiye hum card tabhi open karenge jab aapki seriousness pata chal jayegi (Sir, you see we will open our cards only when we know your seriousness).” Telling the correspondent that to show he is a genuine client he should show something so that he could give the client more than what he would have bargained for: “Aap mujhse expect kar rahe hain 100 main aapko 150 dene ko taiyar ho raha hoon. Only clarity honi chahiye jis aadmi se main baat kar raha hoon this man worth for this. That’s all (You expect from me 100, whereas I am ready to give you 150. What I want is clarity from the man I am talking to. Well, this man [is] worth for this. That’s all),” Khurana reassures. In other words, he will do it the way his client wants provided he proves he is a genuine buyer, and the best way is to show him the money: “You just show me the money power. ‘Mr. Khurana I am the serious buyer. Ye main draft banakar laya hoon ye photocopy draft ki hai [I have brought this draft, here is the photocopy of the draft]. Sir now we can talk please.’ I can come on that pitch. I can open all the things in front of you.”

After taking his leave, we come to know why Khurana is so reticent as to commit himself to the deal yet not saying it openly. Actually, his premises were raided by taxmen posing as customers only recently.

When contacted after the story, Mukesh Khurana does not remember meeting our correspondent nor anything about black money. He refuses to comment.

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Sunil Wason recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Rajeev Chopra, chief operating officer, International Land Developers Pvt. Ltd., Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon, Haryana

The company aims to redefine real estate industry. But this grand project is tainted with black money, as the Cobrapost correspondent discovered within a few minutes into his conversation with its COO Rajeev Chopra. After putting his proposition of the big deal across, the correspondent asked Chopra how much black money he could adjust in the deal. Chopra replies: “Maximum 20 per cent. Isse zyada nahi ho payega (Maximum 20 per cent. More than that won’t be possible).” The reason is a slump in market, as bemoans Chopra: “Nahi jaise 700 something milake 4,300 hai toh usko aleady 3,600 kar sakte hain toh utna hi adjust ho pata hai residential mein toh kyonki rate bahut down aa gaye na market mein fir wo justified … (For example after adding something about 700 it is 4,300. We can already show it 3,600. We can adjust that much residential property because rates have come down in the market, then that won’t be justified).”

A broker who is part of the negotiation makes his own estimate to suggest that at least 30 per cent of black money can be adjusted. Listen to him: “2,800 toh Sir accounts mein hai na full exemption karoge aap gross 3,000 aap lekin na 30 per cent ka adjustment ho gaya total main keh raha hoon (Sir you have to show 2,800 in accounts. You will make a full exemption of Rs. 3,000. But I am saying you will have adjusted total 30 per cent this way).” He is talking about Rs. 3,000 per square feet of a property.

Chopra couldn’t agree more to say: “30 per cent haan theek hai (Yes, 30 per cent. Ok).” The COO of International Land Developers does not reject the suggestion of the correspondent to collect all the cash outside India. “Dekh lenge kahan kaise karna hai wo toh baad ki baat hai (Will see what has to be done where has to be done. That has to be taken care of later on),” he would say.

To sweeten the deal and hook the client with deep pockets the correspondent is representing, Chopra offers him another project where he can adjust maximum black money. Listen to what Chopra is offering: “Agar aapko cash investment zyada chahiye toh humara ek aur project 37 D mein wo humare plots hain (I you want to make more cash investment, we have another project in 37 D where we have plots).” Here, one can invest up to 50 per cent of black money. Listen to Chopra: “Wahan toh 40 bhi ho sakta hai wo hai usmein 29 plots 87 floors banenge … chhota hi hai usmein toh saara hi aapko de sakte hain 50 per cent rate aapka ho sakta hai (There even 40 per cent [in black] can be adjusted. There are 29 plots on which we can build 87 floors. It is a small project. We can sell the whole project to you and you can give 50 per cent payment in cash).” We couldn’t agree more.

When the Cobrapost correspondent called Rajiv Chopra for his reaction, his tone was threatening. Initially he denied ever saying he would take black money, and when the correspondent persisted, he said: “Hamari aisi koi baat nhi hui thi… aap jaise black mailers ko to hamare yahan bhi record hoti hai, hamare yahan bhi camerey lage hue hain (We never had a conversation like that [about black money]… we also record blackmailers like you, we also have cameras at our place).” And then: “Aap jaise jhuth bolne walo ko ham ache se jante hai… arre tumhare jaise toh hum chhatis jeb me rakhte hai bhaiya, jo karna hai kar le (People like you who lie, I know them very well… people like you I keep 36 of them in my pocket, do whatever you want).”

Ajay Gupta, director; Navneet K. Bhatt, manager sales and marketing, Manglam Build Developers Ltd., Jaipur, Rajasthan   

After proposing a bulk buying offer on behalf of the politician he is supposedly working for, the Cobrapost correspondent talks about black money. He asks manager Navneet K. Bhatt how much cash in black they can adjust in the deal? Although he would like the client to pay in white, he assures: “Jo bhi best possible hoga wo kar lenge (Will do whatever is best possible).” He goes on to ask: “Mujhe bataiye ki aap kitna kya karna chahte hain uske according fir main batata hoon ki main itna kar sakta hoon (You tell me what you want, then accordingly I would tell you I can do this much).” As much black component you can adjust, tells the correspondent, but there should be no problem. Reassures Bhatt: “Uske andar wo wo poori hamaari responsibility hai uske andar aapko B component ke andar kahin kuch dikkat nahi hogi wo registry hoga clear cut ka apna wo kaam hoga usmein koi dikkat nahi hai aur jahan tak B component ka maximum ka sawal hai toh apan jo max to max iske andar 35 per cent or 40 tak cover ismein kar lenge (It is our responsibility to see to it that you don’t have to face any problem with regard to B component. There will be registry [of the property]. It will be a clear cut job and as far as adjustment of maximum B component is concerned, we will cover max to max 30 or 40 per cent).”

His boss, Ajay Gupta will not commit that much, however. Telling us they prefer one-time payment, Gupta says: “Usmein sahib ye hai ki 20-30 per cent aap de sakte ho (Sir, you can pay 20-30 per cent [in black]).”

Giving the arithmetic of how a property sold is shown in books, he explains they cannot sell below the combined cost of land and construction which leaves not much scope to adjust black money. “Wahi overall 30 per cent ke aas-paas (Overall 30 per cent [of black money]),” concludes Bhatt.  Gupta echoes his colleague when he says: “Jo baithega wahi hai (This is what can be adjusted).”

It means you will accept 30 per cent kacha (black), correspondent seeks reaffirmation of what they are promising. Gupta promptly replies: “Matlab kache ka saara 30 per cent ho jayega (I mean 30 per cent kacha [black] will be adjusted).” Gupta claims that black component can be adjusted to the extent of 50 per cent the client wants but it may lead to problems at the time of registration.

When the Cobrapost correspondent calls him for his reaction later, Ajay Gupta refuses to comment.

Rajnikant Sharma, vice president sales, RG Group, Sector 120, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

After discussing the rates of the property, the Cobrapost correspondent asks Rajnikant Sharma how much he would accept in black. Sharma says: “Dekhiye black money bahut zyada nahi hogi 20–22 ke beech mein (You see, black money will not be more than 20–22 per cent).” However, he rejects the idea of adjusting 40 per cent in black, saying: “Aap nahi mere yahan toh nahi ho sakta (No, we cannot do it).”

The reason is he has been raided by Income Tax authorities when he undersold properties some time back, and he won’t do it again. Quoting a price of Rs. 4,400 per square metre, he says: “Iske neeche le hi nahi sakta pehle leta tha (I cannot take less than this. Earlier I used to take).” The maximum he can accept is Rs. 900 per square metre in black, which comes to around 25 per cent. Sharma is too scared to cross the limit and the reason is obvious: “3,400 mein agar hai raid padi hui toh main simply le hi nahi sakta hoon (I was raided for selling at the rate of Rs. 3,400. So I can’t accept more).”

Telling the correspondent that transaction in black money cannot take place after an agreement has been signed, Sharma says: “Pehle agreement ho gaya toh fir kaise lenge (How we can accept any money if we first have signed an agreement).” As the parleys move smoothly, Sharma says after 10 per cent of the price in advance by cheque is received along with application form only then would he move forward in the deal, as he says: “Jab wo clear ho jayega uske baad hum adjust karenge form change hoga (After the cheque is cleared, we will adjust it [black money]. The form will change).” “Wo main le loonga (I will accept it),” he says of black money but for that “form change hoga (the form will change).” But he would not explain it, saying: “Aap jab aayenge deal mein tab baat karenge uske baare mein hum (When you come again to close the deal, we will discuss about that [black money] only then).”

Everything will follow only after 10 per cent booking amount is paid to them. Look what Sharma says: “Pehle aap 10 per cent booking jama karaiye uske baad mein aapko procedure batayenge (You first deposit the 10 per cent booking amount. After that, we will tell you what the procedure is).” He goes on to add: “Kuch karne ka koi meaning nahi hai booking hui nahi ha hum log kahan ki baat kar rahe hain (Nothing has any meaning when there is no booking [of the property]. We are going on talking all things).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Rajnikant Sharma recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Renu Singh, AGM sales; Priyanka Bansal, assistant manager, ABW Infrastructure Ltd., IFFCO Chowk, Gurgaon, Haryana

Over the past 20 years of its existence, ABW Infrastructure has built an impressive portfolio of commercial and residential properties. However, as the Cobrapost correspondent found out, black money plays an important role in its endeavour of ‘inventing a new era’ in real estate.

Although she did not allow the correspondent to meet their managing director, AGM Renu Singh is quite open when it comes to allowing black money in their deals. “Karwa denge 20, 25, 30 per cent tak. Aapko kitna tak chahiye bataiye (Will adjust up to20, 25, 30 per cent. Tell me how much you want).” She assures when the correspondent demands the maximum percentage of black money to form the part of the deal: “Main work out kar doongi baat, Priyanka aapko call karegi ek baar then fir se hum disuss karenge (I will work out. Priyanka will call you up and then we will discuss it again).”

Both Singh and her colleague want to know who the client is. It is a well-known politician from south India, says the correspondent, and then asks if he can get a clear commitment from them so that he could convey it to his master. Making it clear that they would do it only when the deal is closed, Singh says: “Nahi clear wali koi cheez nahi hai na aap lekar aao dekho Sir sab kuch ho jata hai work out karenge jo best ho payega we will do it for you (No, there is nothing to be made clear. You bring the client along. You see Sir, everything is possible. We will work it out. We will do it for you whatever is best).”

Assistant manager Priyanka Bansal makes it clear that they will not commit until they meet the client. Listen to what Bansal is telling the correspondent: “Sir, ek baat hai na ki hum ab ek cheez hai na ki na toh aap naam disclose kar rahe ho na toh aap kisi authorized kisi firm se ho toh aise kaise company koi bhi deal aapko close kar de. Aise toh ho hi nahi sakta (Sir, there is one thing. Neither you are disclosing the name [of the client] nor do you represent any authorized company. Then how come would a company close the deal. This is not possible).”

When the Cobrapost correspondent called Priyanka Bansal for her reaction and revealed his identity, she denied dealing in black money and said: “Sir koi hmare yahan pe black money me kuch bhi adjust nahi hota, hum black money me deal he nahi karte…. Aap to zabardasti is cheez ko … kiye ja rhe ho (Sir we don’t deal in black money… you are forcing this).” When she is told that the meeting with her has been recorded on video, she says: “Sir ye kya matlab kis base pe aap mujhe phone kar rhe hain… apka purpose kya hai mujhe phone karne ka? meri aapse koi meeting nahi hui hai (On what basis are you calling me… what is your purpose in calling me? I never had a meeting with you).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to ABW Infrastructure recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with Renu Singh (who has reportedly quit the company) and Priyanka Bansal and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Syed Shaman, general manager sales, Alpine Housing Development Corporation Limited, Langford Road, Bangalore

Telling him that the client would like to make 90 per cent down payment, the Cobrapost correspondent asks whether a certain amount of payment could be made in cash. General manager Syed Shaman is not willing to reveal his cards until he knows who the client is, categorically stating: “I cannot share my company secrets.” However, he assures a suitable discount will be given when the deal is closed: “Pasand karke haan lena hai bolke ayenge uss din hum baat karenge …. terms and conditions toh ache se discount milega main utna assure karoonga jab aap disclose karenge aapka kya hai main uss waqt disclose karoonga kya hai discount (After approving the project you come to us saying you want to buy. That day we will discuss … terms and conditions. I will ensure that you get good discount. When you disclose what you want, then I will disclose what discount I will give you).”

Although he makes everything contingent upon knowing the client first before discussing the deal, he is not averse to discussing black money. When the correspondent asks if he could give him any bottom line on B component, Shaman says: “Twenty hai (It is 20 per cent).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Syed Shaman recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Rahul Anand, marketing head, Antriksh Group, Sector 77, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

An ISO-certified real estate company, Antariksh Group is developing residential and commercial properties across Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. Asking the Cobrapost correspondent when he will finalize deal on all 40 units he has proposed to buy on behalf of the client, marketing head Rahul Anand assures the correspondent “jitna aap chahein (as much as you want)” when he asks him how much black money they adjust in the deal. “How much can you adjust?” the correspondent asks him again. “Sixty,” promptly replies Anand. Are you sure? Anand says: “Haan 40 aise 40–60 ka ratio chalta hai (Yes, there is a ratio of 40–60).” He explains it further: “40 per cent black maan ke chalo 60 per cent ek number main 60–40 karta hoon (Take 40 per cent as granted. I do it at60–40).”

Then why don’t you do it at 60 per cent, suggests the correspondent, but without any problems. Says Anand: “Aap se pehle mujhe dikkat na ho main wo bhi dekhna hai mere ko. Koi nahi wo toh hum kar lete hain (I have to see that I too face no problem. Anyway, we do that).” He will take it up with his superior. He explains why: “Baaki ye hai ki upar hai toh ek baar discussion kar lete hain final touch toh unhi se lena hai (Since I have my superiors here. Let me have discussion with them on it. After all it is they who will give [the deal] a final touch).”

Nothing can be more reassuring when Anand says: “Humare yahan ek baat toh zaroor hai humare paas itni flexibility hai ki aap yahan se kahin nahi jaoge (There is one thing certain about us. There is so much flexibility here that you would not go anywhere else).” So much so that it is not a big deal for them to adjust black money up to 60 per cent. It is only a matter of discussion with his boss. He says: “Maine bataya na maximum 60–40 ka ratio rakhte hain aur agar Sir se baat ho gayi na sham ko toh 60 black hum kara denge baat toh hum kar lenge Sir se baith ke kar lenge thoda hunein samjhana hai batana hai  (I told you that we keep a maximum 60–40 ratio. If I am able to speak with Sir [my boss] in the evening, I will adjust 60 per cent black. I will discuss with him. I have to tell him and bring him around).”

The correspondent asks if they have done this kind of favour earlier, otherwise the client may get into trouble. Anand is an old hand in this business of making black money clean. Listen to what he says: “Sir kara hua hai chinta na karein (Sir, I have been doing it. Don’t worry).”

When contacted for his reaction, Rahul Anand denies he offered to accept black money.

Ameenuddin, managing director, Archies Projects Pvt. Ltd., Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad

For Ameenuddin, black money is welcome from only resident Indians. He tells the correspondent- “Dekhiye ek baat main khula bata raha hoon (I am telling you frankly) if Indians are making … haan main aapko bata raha hoon (I am telling you if) Indians are making an agreement, cash no problem but if foreign company or a corporate company is involving we take only company cheque.”

When the Cobrapost correspondent tells him that the company he is representing will not be directly involved and the properties will be bought in individuals’ names, Ameenuddin says: “No problem cash le lenge (No problem, will accept cash).” How much cash, asks the correspondent, would you take? “We will see that,” says Ameenuddin and agrees to accept 40 per cent in black. He explains how he would go about it: “What happens, for example, [the price is rupees] 1 crore [per] apartment will be there. So what [we] will do we will make [an] agreement only for [Rs.] 60 lakh … 60 lakh will come … In the agreement also, it will be mentioned that 40 lakhs will be taken, kept quiet. It’s set aside. That means we will lower the value of the flat.” It will be done in a hassle-free manner, assures Ameenuddin.

When contacted for his reaction by Cobrapost before going online with the story, Ameenuddin feigned ignorance about meeting the correspondent and about his willingness to accept black money: “Merey ko yaad nahi a raha hai kiskay baarey mey baat hui thi. Bulk booking? Mujhe abhi yaad nahi a raha… Bohot saarey log aatey rehtey hai humaarey paas…  bulk booking boley toh merey ko yaad nahi a raha… Apartment ki booking hai? Abhi toh merey paas koi project nahi hai… Mera koi comment nahi hai iskay baarey mey… koi abhi merey paas business bhi nahi hai… kyunki idhar ki market ki haalat kharab hai… hum abhi business bhi nahi kar rahey hain idhar… I don’t remember it at all … I cannot comment anything on that and I don’t remember anything at all.” (I can’t remember what we talked about. Bulk booking? Many people come to us for business… I don’t remember anything about bulk booking… Was it about booking apartments? I don’t have any project right now… I don’t have any comment about this… the condition of the market is bad… We are not doing any business here now either… ).”

Siraj Mather, managing director, Asten Realtors Pvt. Ltd., Kochi

Understanding the need of his client, managing director Siraj Mather will accept black money in the deal proposed by the Cobrapost correspondent. “Ok. How much you want to pay in cash for … because after what happen … whatever … After three years … and then they take out. Of course, I can show … and the 10% …. we can take in cash.” He would not accept more than that, saying: “Impossible. I am sorry. We can’t do that normally.”

When contacted later, Siraj Mather recalls meeting the correspondent and his willingness to accept 10 per cent in cash, but when he is told that he is speaking to a correspondent from Cobrapost, he sings a new tune and says: “We don’t accept cash at all. Cash… we will give the receipt. Black… sorry, we don’t touch black. We don’t do that.”

Premanand Samal, CEO; Deepak Rai, BamaTech Developing India, Sector 53, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

After proposing a bulk deal on behalf of his master, Cobrapost correspondent asks Premanand Samal how much black money they can adjust in the deal. The CEO of BamaTech, in turn, asks: “Aap kitna de sakte hain black (How much you can pay in black).” His colleague Deepak Rai ventures to add: “Humara 50–60 flat hai pehle nikal lijiye (We take 50–60 per cent flat. First, you figure it out).” Samal intervenes to say: “60 nahi hum denge 50–50 (we will not accept 60 per cent cash. We will keep it at 50–50).”

So you will accept 50 per cent payment in black? Yes, says Samal: “50 per cent black lenge (We will accept 50 per cent in black).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Premanand Samal recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with him and informing him that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Narendra Babu K., director marketing; Vijay G.V., manager marketing; Shiva Prasaath M.N., team leader, Concorde Group, JP Nagar, Phase-III, Bangalore

It does not take long for marketing manager Vijay G.V. to openly discuss black money in the bulk deal that Cobrapost correspondent has put on his table. “Wo toh theek hai wo kar sakte hain (That is Ok. We can do it),” assures Vijay G.V. He further says: “Wo aapko 15 lakh tak de sakte hain ek-ek villas mein (We can give you [scope of paying in cash] Rs. 15 lakh for each villa).” In percentage points, according to Vijay, it comes to 30–35 per cent. As he says: “In around agar 30–40 mein dekha jaye toh 30–35 per cent (In around, if you take it between 30 and 40 per cent, it is about 30–35 per cent).”

Marketing director Narendra Babu K. endorses when the correspondent seeks to confirm that they would accept Rs. 15 lakh in black per villa bought. Says Babu: “Le lenge wo toh theek hai (Will take. That is ok).” But the figure moves a notch around Rs. 20 lakh when the cost of the unit after discount is worked out to be Rs. 69 lakh. Declares Babu: “19 lakh lenge 50 lakh white (We will take 19 lakh [in cash], 50 lakh in white). 19 lakh cash.”

Not only that, Babu has no problem collecting money from within the country and outside. “Delhi mein kahin le lenge hum (Will collect from anywhere in Delhi).” When the correspondent asks him if they could be paid cash in the United States, Babu replies promptly: “Haan (Yes).”

Knowing it well that the client has immense financial muscle, Babu dishes out some more proposals to help make his money clean. Babu informs the correspondent that his company has 25 acres of land in the heart of Bangalore and they are looking for potential investors for this project pegged at Rs. 1,800 crore. He proposes that if the client invests Rs. 50 crore in the project, he will get a return of Rs. 100 crore in three years. It means if we pay Rs. 50 crore in black, asks the correspondent, you will return Rs. 100 crore. Babu is prompt in his reply: “25 black mein dijiye 25 cheque mein dijiye fir black ka 50 black mein rahega (Give Rs. 25 crore in black and 25 crore by cheque, then the return of Rs. 50 crore on the black part will paid in black).” Upon protest from the correspondent, Babu assures: “Poora white poora de denge (Will give you all the returns in white).” He even agrees to accept Rs. 30 crore in black. “Nahi toh 30 black de dijiye 20 cheque dijiye poora 50 lena aapko 100 cheque de dena (Otherwise, you can give Rs. 30 crore in black and Rs. 20 core by cheque. This way we will take Rs. 50 crore from you and return you Rs. 100 crore by cheque).” He will make the client a partner in the venture.

Babu’s ideas get bigger and bigger as he jumps from one proposal to another. Give him Rs. 100 crore in black, he says, he will convert it to white with help from non-banking finance companies. Look what he says: “Nahi wo nahi non-banking finance companies hai … (No, not those [regular banks]. There are non-banking finance …).” These companies charge 13 per cent commission to convert your black money into white.

He then advises the client to invest in their retail stores, called Cuppa Coffee Shop, across India and convert the money into white. He offers 20–25 per cent stake in this venture. On an investment of Rs. 25 crore, you can earn Rs. 65 crore, upon a valuation of Rs. 600 crore, after offloading 10 per cent shares. Listen to what he is offering to the correspondent: “60 crore tumhara investment kitna hai 25 crore ka hai 10 per cent nikal rahe aap aur 10 per cent rakhiye aur next game aur toh do saal 2 years ke baad exit kariye ye bahut bada game hai ([You get a return of] Rs. 60 crore. What is your investment? It is Rs. 25 crore. Offload 10 per cent [shares] and keep the rest 10 per cent invested. The next game, after two years you exit. This is a very big game).”

When contacted later for his reaction, Narendra Babu accuses the correspondent of blackmail and uses expletives. He says he has left Concorde Group and has started his own real estate company. When asked if he will accept cash for properties even now, he says: “I take white only.” When reminded that he had earlier said he would accept black money, he says: “Who said that? I have recorded all this conversation. Now you are into blackmail. I’ll put this to police commissioner now. I have recorded already. I don’t know who you are… you’re a journalist… you come and meet me.” Towards the end, Narendra Babu turns abusive.

When reminded that he had agreed to take black money, Vijay G.V. says: “That was at that point of time. Now I don’t know who has been handling this… You have to come down to our office on M.G. Road … where you can discuss directly. We are not committing anything from our side.”

Promptly replying to a mail from Cobrapost seeking their reaction, Raja Mukherjee, Head – Sales & Marketing, Concorde Group wrote: “We are in receipt of your mail. We would like to bring to your kind notice that our organisation is governed by strong Corporate Ethics and each one of us is expected to abide by the corporate governance protocols with respect and diligence. We are committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and encourage ethical practices at all level and at all time.”

Trony Kurion, head – sales and marketing, National Builders, Kochi

Over the past one and half decade of its existence, National Builders has spun a success story in real estate, having developed many landmark properties across Mumbai and Kochi. However, the story is tainted with black money which forms a significant part of its business transactions. A look at the conversation that Hizbullah had with its sales and marketing head Trony Kurion makes the fact evident. After discussing the bulk deal with Kurion, the correspondent tells him that cash would a part of transaction with the client. Seeking to know what percentage the client would like to pay in cash, Kurion asks: “Ok and what it with percentage.” When the correspondent tells him he would like to keep it to maximum, Kurion says: “Ok, 60–40. It will be okay for you.”

He then explains: “[60 per cent] by one and second 40 per cent.” It simply means the client has to pay 60 per cent of the price by cheque, that is, in white and 40 per cent in cash, that is, in black. There will not be any problem at the time of registering the sale deed as it will be done at the minimum rates. “For the registration we will show only minimum … minimum value but it’s not an issue, only 800 rupees per square feet,” assures Kurion.

When contacted later, Tony Kurion doesn’t remember meeting the correspondent. When asked for a comment, he says: “We don’t accept cash. What are you talking about?” and disconnects the phone.

Atul Krishna Modi, director; Nikhil Gupta, manager sales, Okay Plus Builders & Developers, Jaipur, Rajasthan

True to its name, it is quite okay with Okay Plus Builders & Developers, which claims to be Rajasthan’s largest real estate developer, to accept black money. If Nikhil Gupta is willing to accept as much as 50 per cent in black, his boss director Atul Krishna Modi is equally willing to accommodate as much as the client would want. The Cobrapost correspondent does not have to do much prodding. But he simply asks Gupta how much adjustment they can make with regard to black money.

Here is what Gupta has to assure: “Dekh lenge 10 per cent se 60–40 jo hai (Will see whatever we can do, from 10 per cent … 60–40 per cent).” When the correspondent seeks to know what the percentage of black money would be, Gupta says: “60–40 jo hai (60–40 per cent).” He further explains: “60 cheque aur (and) 40 cash.”

Do you really do this with so much ease, asks the correspondent, to seek confirmation of what Gupta is promising. Gupta in turn promises to do even more: “Haan itna ho jata hai … itna bada project hai toh ismein zyada ho sakta hai … aa sakta hai plus mein … apan itna bada project mein zyada bhi kar sakte hain … 50 bhi ho jayega (Yes, this is adjusted. In a project as big as this, more can be adjusted, it can be done in plus. We can do more than that in a big project like this. We can adjust even 50 per cent).”

When brought to the presence of Modi, the correspondent asks him how much B component they can adjust in the deal while being on the safe side. Modi suggests a ratio of 25 per cent black money to 75 per cent white. Protesting, the correspondent tells him he would like black component to be maximum, not less than 40 per cent his subordinate has promised. “Haan toh 60–40 (Yes, then 60–40),” he endorses. What about keeping it 50–50, suggests the correspondent. Modi assures: “Dekh lenge (Will see).”

Sunil K. Rajput, managing director, Rajput Properties and Developers Pvt. Ltd., Sector 62, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

In real estate business since 1993, Rajput Properties is at present developing Shri Rajnigandha Greens, an ambitious project in Greater Noida. Quick to grab the bulk deal that Cobrapost correspondent offers, Managing Director Suneel Kumar Rajput would not say no to black money. “Ismein 30–70 ka ratio chalega 30 per cent aa sakta hai black (We will go by the ratio of 30–70. You can pay 30 per cent in black).” When the correspondent insists on paying 50 per cent in black, Rajput yields some more ground to say: “60 white, black 40 per cent. Isase upar nahi jayega (It will not go beyond that).”

Rajput will not enter into a formal agreement with the client until all the black component is paid in advance. Look what he says: “Wo toh fir black par hi banega total black ke aane ke baad hi banega (That [agreement] will be made only after we receive total black [component]).”

Once this deal is closed, says the correspondent, his boss can invest more money with his company. But the boss likes to make business transactions outside the country. Rajput confides in that they are looking for investors and are, in fact, going to open an office in Singapore. Rajput is eager to seek investment: “Dekhiye initial mein lagbhag 3-4 crore rupaya immediate humein chahiye … uske baad hum transaction jaise chahein waise ho jayega (You see we are looking for about Rs. 3-4 crore immediate[ly] in the initial stage. After that you can go for transaction the way you want it).”

It means if we pay you Rs. 3-4 crore here, says the correspondent, then the rest of the transaction can done from outside of the country. “Baaki bahar se ho jayega (The rest can be done from outside of the country),” concurs Rajput. The correspondent asks if it will be done at Singapore. Rajput will choose the place as he says: “Wo jahan se bhi hoga main wo aapko bata denge … jismein do white chahiye aur baaki cash (Will inform you where it could be done. We need Rs. 2 crore in white and the rest in cash).”

Cobrapost was not able to contact Rajput as the phone number with us was not working and the company website had been closed down. Rajput was arrested this year for allegedly taking booking advances of Rs. 12 crore from nearly 400 investors for a huge housing project in Noida Extension without buying the land for it.

Khalid Masood, director; Pranjal Singh, AGM marketing, Shalimar Corp. Ltd., Lalbagh, Lucknow

The Cobrapost correspondent does not have to prod much the senior functionaries of Shalimar Corp. Ltd. to accept black money in the bulk deal he has proposed. Calculating the cost of a unit, Pranjal Singh gives the correspondent an idea of how much black money can be adjusted in the deal: “Ji 4,800 sq ft ka hai iska rate hai 950 rupees (Its rate is Rs. 4,800 per sq ft. [Out of it] Rs. 950 …).” That can be paid in cash, asks the correspondent. Replies Singh: “Haan ji … thoda bahut ismein barhana chahenge thoda bahut gunzaish hai abhi ye standard humne nikala hai (Yes. If you want to increase [the cash component] to some extent, there is some scope. We have fixed this standard [rate] only recently).” According to this standard, the black component comes to around 20 per cent, says the correspondent. Confirms Singh: “Ye issi cash ka hai 20 per cent toh ye aapka aa jayega (This is of the cash part only. This way you will have paid 20 per cent).”

When brought to the presence of his boss, director Khalid Masood, the correspondent asks him if it was possible for them to accept 30 per cent in black. Masood assures: “Wo bhi dekh lenge (Will see that as well).” But it is conditional as preliminary things have to be taken care of first. Masood says: “Matlab aap baaki cheezein pehle hi kar dijiye mujhe uske liye aap 2–3 ghante ka samay de dijiyega main apne account walon se ek baar pooch karke … (I mean, you first do the rest of the things. Give me 2-3 hours. I will ask my accounts people).”

Masood allays uncertainty with these words: “Ninety per cent aap samajh kar chaliye aap 30 per cent chahte hain na toh 30 per cent tak kara denge 90 per cent maan kar (You take it 90 per cent as done. You want 30 per cent [to be paid in cash], I will get it done).” But it still sounds a little uncertain if they would keep the word, the correspondent complains. Masood again assures him: “Nahi nahi lekin hum kar denge 90 per cent aapse issliye keh raha hoon kyonki 10 per cent main account walon se ek baar discuss kar loon tab aapko bata doonga kya position hai 90 per cent okay hai 30 per cent. Theek hai (No, but we will do it. I am saying it 90 per cent as done because let me discuss it with my accounts people to okay the rest 10 per cent. Then I will tell you what the position is. [From my side] the 30 per cent [cash] is 90 per cent okay. Ok).”

When contacted for his comments after the story, Khalid Masood says he does not want to say anything. However, before Hizbullah tells him he is from Cobrapost, Masood agrees to take black money. Pranjal Singh denies ever saying anything like that. “Nahin kabhi nahin kaha humne (No, I never said anything).” When our correspondent tells him that their conversation was recorded on hidden camera, Singh says: “Are thik hai, job hi hai (It’s alright, it’s just a job).”

A.M. Anas, managing director; V.P. Sreenivasan Nair, manager; Aslam A.M., manager marketing and customer relations, Travancore Builders (P) Ltd., Kochi

Creating architectural symphony, thus goes the motto of Travancore Builders. The symphony is, however, adulterated with a dash of black money. Manager V.P. Sreenivasan Nair asks the correspondent: “Can you say how much you are living [sic] to on cash part?” Maximum but in a safe manner, the correspondent tells him, and seeks to know the percentage of black money they can adjust. Upon this Nair’s colleague Aslam works out the cost of the unit at Rs. 1.5 crore. He tells the correspondent: “Okay and normally the mark up to which we can go is now 20 per cent.” He would like the black component to be 30 per cent, says the correspondent, but there should not be any problem at the time of registration. Assuring there will be “nothing” of that sort, Aslam says: “We haven’t received any such things earlier. That’s why since this is new project, we think we have some options to work out.”

Their boss, managing director A.M. Anas would not disappoint when the correspondent seeks his approval on 20 per cent black component. He says: “We like a … that means … like that for a B part … I think 20 per cent tak … because I have discussed toh [then]20 per cent I can.” Any problem? “No, no nothing,” he assures.

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to A. M. Anas, Aslam A.M. and V.P. Sreenivasan Nair recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with them and informing them that the story is being published on our website. We informed them that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

Chiropriyo Mukherjee, general manager; Dipayan Hazari, senior manager – sales, Vibgyor Housing Ltd., Kolkata, West Bengal

When the Cobrapost correspondent asks how much black money they can adjust, Dipayan Hazari replies: “Maximum jitna hone se aap karenge … normally toh 70–30 hota hai (You want to know the maximum we can do. Normally, it is 70–30).” The ratio according to Hazari is white 70 per cent and black 30 per cent. He explains: “Ye thumb rule hai magar sabhi project mein hum logona ka hota nahi hai ismein bhi aisa officially nahi hai (This is thumb rule. But we don’t do this in all projects. This is not done officially).” Yet he would reassure us: “Par hum baat kar lete hain (But I will discuss about it).”

His boss rejects the idea of black money outright. Says general manager Chiropriyo Mukherjee: “Cash toh hum loag nahi adjust ker satke kyonki hum log saare ke saare white mein hi toh kaam karte hain … kyonki hum log toh ye sab se toh black ka nahi kar sakte (We cannot adjust cash because we deal in white only … because we cannot deal in black).”

But when the correspondent sounds him out that his refusal may jeopardize the deal, Mukharjee begins to sing a different but favourable tune: “Toh kitne per cent aap expect kar rahe ho (Then, what percent[age] you expect us [to adjust in black])?” We would like to go for maximum black money in the deal, the correspondent tells him. Giving us the final rate at which they will sell us the properties, Mukherjee says: “Aur black ka hisab se jo baat aapse kari thi hum logon ne toh hum log 20 max to max 30 per cent tak hum kar sakte hain (and the discussion we [his subordinate] had with you about adjusting black, then we can adjust 20, max to max 30 per cent).”

Now we know that his reluctance to talk black money was only eyewash, as his colleague had already told him about what the client wanted. And there will be no problem at the time of registration as Mukherjee reassures: “Nahi, registration mein koi problem nahi kuch bhi nahi (There will be no problem in registration, nothing at all).” There will be no problem because as Hazari puts it, “Registration aapka market value ke hisab se hoga (Registration will be done at market value [of the property]).” Mukherjee seconds his subordinate: “Market value ke hisab se hoga (It will be done as per the market value).”

Cobrapost sent an e-mail to Dipayan Hazari and Chiropriyo Mukherjee recapitulating our reporter’s meeting with them and informing them that the story is being published on our website. We informed him that we seek his reactions so we can publish it along with the story. As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014, we did not receive any response.

R.K. Modi, managing director; Suman Banerjee, AGM marketing and sales, Vedic Realty Pvt Ltd, Kolkata, West Bengal

As the Cobrapost correspondent gets into the details of deal, assistant general manager Suman Banerjee: “Cash component kitna hai (How much is the cash component).” This sets the tone of the discussion, and treating our case as something special, Banerjee is willing to do us the favour, saying: “Toh hum cash mein toh le sakte hain lekin  discount ka please koi ummeed mat kijiye (So, we can take the payment in cash but please don’t expect any discount).”

After giving a circuitous explanation on how he would go about justifying the deal by showing the properties unfinished, unfurnished and making different agreements, Banerjee says: “50 lakh rupaye main le paoonga aapse (I will be able to accept 50 lakh).” That is settled, the correspondent now asks if all the cash be collected from Mumbai or Delhi. Banerjee says: “Haan utha lenge (Yes, can pick up).” He could get the money collected from any place except countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Turkey. So when the correspondent asks if they could get the money collected in countries like Dubai, UK, US, Malaysia and Singapore, Banerjee says: “Nahi toh main aapko ek cheez bata doon … main aapko account number de doonga, theek hai bank number de doonga account number de doonga (No, I will tell you one thing. I will give you an account number, ok. I will give you a bank number).”

You mean we shall deposit all our cash in that account? Yes, he says. Listen to what Banerjee says: “Haan usmein aap jama kar dijiyega hum wo confirm kar denge (Yes, you deposit money in that account upon which we will confirm you the same).” The broker who introduced the correspondent to this company says in a comforting manner: “Wo hum log ko internal manage hota hai wo sab (We internal[ly] manage all that).” Banerjee asks the correspondent to deposit the black component in the said bank in India itself as they cannot collect the same outside the country for lack of machinery. He advises: “Aap main aapko account detail bhej doonga aap uss account mein jama karaiye RTGS kariye joi bhi karana hai kara dijiye koi issue nahin hai (I will send you the account number. You can deposit in that account or do RTGS. Do whatever you can. There is no issue).”

“But we have liquid money [cash],” says the correspondent. Banerjee replies with ease: “Nahi main liquid hi bol raha hoon … main jo aapko accounts doonga usmein aap liquid hi jama karwaiyega (No, I am talking of liquid money only. You deposit liquid in those accounts I will give you).” It means when we deposit the cash into those accounts, our money will become white, asks the correspondent. Now, the revelation Banerjee makes is startling: “Nahi hoga white jaise wo account mein jayega humein wo confirm kar denge mil gaya. Uske baad account hi band ho jayega (No, it will become white. As soon as the money is credited to our account, they [the bank] will confirm. After that the account will be closed).”

The last time when we heard of how a bank can help launder you ill-gotten money was in the course of Operation Red Spider. Now, we know how real estate companies launder your black money using regular banking channels.

After you get confirmation of completion of transaction, Banerjee says, you can tear the deposit receipt off. Banerjee makes another claim: “Aur agar aap bolo Bombay ya Delhi ya kahin se bhi uthawana hai toh physically uthwana hai toh wo bhi kar sakte hain (You tell me if you want us to collect money from Bombay or Delhi, we can do it as well).” He even says he can give the name of his pointman in Delhi who would do the job for them. There is no mistaking here that hawala is part of the game here. Finally, Banerjee says: “Aap dekho first booking amount de rahe hain, forms bhar rahe hain, then I know kaun sa unit aapko de raha hoon that unit allotted fir mere ko aap bol rahe ho ki cash lena hai yahi 50 cash hai main utha loonga (You see first, you pay us the booking amount, duly fill the application form. Then I know which unit I am selling you. That unit is allotted. Then you are telling me to collect cash, this 50 lakh. I will collect the same).”

Banerjee’s boss, R. K. Modi endorses what has already been settled. He is ready to accept Rs. 50 lakh per unit sold in black, which comes to about 40 per cent of the total price, as he assures: “50 lakh tak toh ho hi jayega (Up to Rs. 50 lakh will be accepted [in cash]).” But there is a rider. “Nahi toh wo possible nahi (No, that is not possible),” Modi says of collection of cash outside of the city or country.

When contacted for his comments regarding him agreeing to take part payment for poperties in black, Modi says he does not remember and says “kariye publish, jo karna hai kariye, mujhe kuch yaad nahi hai (publish it, do whatever you want to do, I don’t remember anything) when told that Cobrapost is going to publish the story.

Incidentally, Modi is a murder accused in a case dating to 2009 and has been charged with forgery, keeping arms and ammunition, threatening villagers and attempt to murder.

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