Cobrapost |
July 26, 2011

Investing half a core of black money is no big deal: “Yeh toh bahut chhota amount hai, koi bada amount nahin hai (It is a very small amount, not a big one).”

Investing half a core of black money is no big deal: “Yeh toh bahut chhota amount hai, koi bada amount nahin hai (It is a very small amount, not a big one).”

Visiting the this branch of HDFC in Jaipur, the Cobrapost reporter finds Branch Manager N. Sharma receptive to the proposal that a certain politician wants to invest Rs. 50 lakh of black money.

Split the money, she advises, as it is not possible to invest this amount in one go. She says: “Aapka 50 lakh jo hai wo ek saath nahin liya ja sakta. Ismein kya karna hoga aapko (We cannot accept Rs. 50 lakh in one go. What you will have to do is) it has to be splitted [sic] into different … split karna parega (we will have to split it). 50 lakh divided into 5.”

The money to be invested is all in cash, the reporter tells her. At first, Sharma demurred, citing the rules forbidding cash transactions. She asks: “Cash mein kaise denge aap humko (How will you give it in cash)?”

There is a lot of cash lying in his house. Would her bank give him a locker to keep the money, asks the journalist? Sharma again quotes the rulebook but explains how the rules could be disregarded in the case of regular customers. “Lockers mein as such agar rules ke hisaab se baat karein to cash locker mein rakhna is not allowed kyunki IT hota hai na unke rules hote hain. Maine locker aapko allot kar diya. Locker main usi ko allow kar sakti hun jo mera customer hai. Uske liye account kholna mandatory hai. Aur investment bhi we only do it for our customers. Hum bahar ki parties ke liye nahin karte investment advisory. To account toh anyways aapko open karna hi parega (If we talk of rules, then according to rules as such you are not allowed to keep cash in lockers because there is IT who have their rules. Suppose I allot you a locker, but I can allot a locker only to someone who is our customer. Opening an account is mandatory, and as for investment, we only do it for our customers. We do not provide investment advisory to parties who are not our customers. Anyways, you will have to open an account).” What this woman officer meant by all these denials is that she could help only when the client became a regular customer with her bank.

Sharma goes on: “Account open ke liye aapko cheque dena hi parega. Initial account opening ka cheque to aapko dena hi parega. Kal aapka account active ho jayega, usmein cash deposit kar dijiyega. PAN card attach hoga uske saath mein. Main aapko obviously bataoon bolne wali baatein hain ki hum information bhejte hain. Aisa nahi hota hai. Aap PAN card denge toh ek din mein main 7 lakh–8 lakh se zyada ek account mein deposit nahin kar paoongi. Agar aap 10 ke upar karenge to I will be requiring papers ki paisa kahan se aaya. Isiliye aap 7–8 lakh kar dena ek ek din mein (You will have to give a cheque for account opening. You will have to give a cheque for initial account opening. Tomorrow when your account becomes active, you can deposit cash in it. PAN card will be attached to it. Obviously, I shall tell you that all these talks that we send the information are just talks. This is not the case. If you give your PAN card, then I will be able to accept cash deposit not more than Rs. 7–8 lakh a day. If you deposit more than Rs. 10 lakh then I will require papers declaring the source from where the money was received).”

Was insurance the safest route to invest money and make it white? Sharma is emphatic in her reply: “Yes Sir, aur jo paisa aayega wo cheque ke form mein aayega (and the money you will get in return will come in the form of cheque).” What is the procedure to make the investment, asks the journalist? Sharma replies: “Sabse pehle aap account open karo. Kal account active hoga, un tino account mein 8–8 lakh rupaye cash deposit kar lenge aap se aur kal hi aapka investment ho jayega start. 24 lakh rupees ka kal start karenge. Baaki amount ka baad mein ho jayega (First, you open an account. Tomorrow it will become active. We will take cash deposits of Rs. 8 lakh for each of the three accounts, and your investment will start from tomorrow itself. We will start with Rs. 24 lakh tomorrow. The rest of the amount will be taken care of later on).”

Would she allot him a locker because keeping so much money at home is unsafe? Sharma answers: “Main aapko matlab mujhe nahin pata aap locker mein rakho ya na rakho. As a banker main aapko ye suggest nahin karoongi. Customer kya rakh raha hai humein nahin pata. Customer agar humse poochta hai cash rakhne ke liye to hum mana karenge. Wo illegal hai (I mean to say I don’t know if you should keep it in the locker or not. As a banker, I will not suggest you to do this. We don’t know what the customer is doing. If a customer asks us to keep the cash there, we will simply not allow it).” In other words, what a customer does with the locker was none of her business.

Has she handled these sorts of investments involving these amounts of money before? Or should he opt for somewhat smaller investments? She replies: “Yeh toh bahut chhota amount hai, koi bada amount nahin hai (It is a very small amount, not a big one).”

If you like the story and if you wish more such stories, support our effort Make a donation.


If you believe investigative journalism is essential to making democracy functional and accountable support us. »