Cobrapost |
July 26, 2011

K. Mallela, Assistant Vice President-cum-Branch Head, Axis Bank, Moosarambagh, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

K. Mallela, Assistant Vice President-cum-Branch Head, Axis Bank, Moosarambagh, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Invest in insurance, he suggests. Aapko white hone ke liye ye best method hai (This is the method to make your money white).” – K. Mallela

Walking straight to the desk of a banker, the Cobrapost reporter asks the official to take him to some senior official to discuss some big investment. The reporter is promptly taken to K. Mallela, Assistant Vice President, who also heads this branch of Axis Bank somewhere in Moosarambagh in Hyderabad. After exchanging pleasantries, our reporter states the purpose of his visit: He wants to make a handsome investment in some safe, long-term insurance product, with guaranteed returns. Mallela launches into educating our reporter on various options available with him. When he tells the reporter that you can invest in mututal funds and fixed deposits, the reporter says he won’t opt for both, and particularly FDs are not part of his scheme as they attract tax. What an intelligent and tax savvy our reporter is!

As the education of our reporter progresses, our reporter tells Mallela that the money belongs to a politician and asks him if the money invested thus in cash would be converted into white. Replies Mallela: “Account mein hi jama hota hai … it is white. Aapko white hone ke liye ye best method hai … insurance mein daale to… aapko accha hai(It is credited to your account …it is white … This is the best method to make your money white … if you invest in insurance it is good for you).” This is the catch, man! Put in your black money in insurance to convert it into white. That is exactly what we want.

What if we invest Rs. 50 lakh cash, asks our reporter, will that be comfortable for you to handle? Mallela is quick to reply: “Aapka marzi (It is your wish). That is up to you.” Any big amount will do. Mallela is concerned only about the “continuity” of the policy.

Don’t worry, we have tones of crores, assures our reporter. The point is whatever we invest should be safe and should be made white. At the same time it should fetch us good returns. You know how the politicians earn but they would split their hair over the safety of their investment!

Understanding the point, Mallela tells about another, single-premium plan of Max Life in which you can invest minimum Rs. 20 lakh. It gives returns three times the sum assured.

The investment has to be made in three names: his relative, our reporter himself, his wife and the minister’s wife. Would you like to pay a visit to our residence to talk to the minister on phone and take the deal forward, asks the reporter? Mallela nods in agreement.

Can we put in more money in this product, asks our reporter, so excited he is. But we have all money in cash.

Open an account to do it in cash, advises Mallela: “You cannot give cash directly. You have to open an account.”

You mean you will route cash into investment through an account, reporter asks.

Mallela needs no prodding as the purpose of the client he is talking to is not lost on him. Nodding in agreement, he claims: “And everything is going to be whiteas per tax laws.”

Wow! Why not start with Rs. 1 crore, our reporter is doubly excited. Why don’t come over to my residence in the evening and finalize the deal after talking to the minister over phone, our reporter reiterates, and please be kind to bring along a machine to count the cash. Pick up the cash. It is done deal.

A beaming Mallela agrees, so excited he is at the prospect of netting a big-ticket client.

Now, it is clear to us that we could invest our crore in insurance, get a life cover 10 times the sum assured, covering even dreaded diseases, get handsome returns on it, three times the sum assured,  and make our money white.

Can anything get better than this?

To reassure his client, he says he will be served equally good by any banker who replaces him, and the “continuity” remains: “You are not putting the money based upon Kishore you are putting money based upon Axis Bank … it continues.”

Our minister has a big name. So, avoid mentioning his name anywhere, even in forms, the reporter requests. Returns an understanding Mallela: “Whatever you want … we are simply putting that.”

You know how the ministers roll in money by brewing a scam here, a scandal there. But they want their investments always safe, rues the reporter.

Appreciating his point, Mallela comes up with another safe method to invest black money: “One more thing I would tell you…gold also… gold purchase karo … mere paas gold hai….Axis Bank gold… that is very wonderful gold … 99.999 per cent gold … and we have this also … lockers also…you take one locker… keep not total amount in … some 2 kg–3 kg gold you purchase and put it inside. That is the best way I am telling you. At any time if you want you can take it out and sell … best 100 per cent … and if you want money… reversible money also…I am going to give loan on that immediately… instantly.”

So, if we purchased gold, as Mallela suggests, we can avail a locker with his bank to safe keep it there and take it out to sell at our convenience and get loan against it if need be. What else can one ask for? There are as many ways to convert black money into white as there are ways to earn it! And few know them better than bankers like Mallela.

Fine! We will buy 5 kg of gold for Rs.1.75 core and put it in your lockers, says the reporter. Mallela has another piece of advice: “You don’t go only on gold … you take 1 kg gold… ek single policy… ek ye… and some cash whatever you are feeling excess put in the lockers… I will provide you the locker … very big locker.” So, we should not put all our eggs in one basket.

A diversified portfolio is always good when you have crores of unaccounted cash to invest!

To assure our reporter that he is not wrong on his calculations, he calls in one of his subordinates and after dabbling with him in Telugu, he says what he had told was correct: We are going to get three times as much on our investment in the insurance product suggested by him.

Reassured thus that the minister’s black money would be converted into white, our reporter takes their leave with a word to carry the deal forward in the evening.

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