cobrapost |
November 5, 2017

ING Vysya Bank, Case 1: S.S. Sudhir, Branch Head, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

ING Vysya Bank, Case 1: S.S. Sudhir, Branch Head, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

An experienced, efficient manager, with complete knowledge of new avenues of financial routing.

Walking into this branch of ING Vysya Bank in the most prosperous locality in Hyderabad, our Cobrapost reporter meets Assistant Manager Swathi. He states the purpose of his visit: A politician of stature wants to invest Rs. 1 crore for long term in some instrument, with good returns but no TDS. It is all in cash. This is for start, there is more big money in store if we get along well.

The lady banker is of little help as Swathi has not dealt with big cash. We have no choice but to wait for quite some time before Branch Head S.S. Sudhir arrives.

Our reporter explains that though he is from Delhi, he is here because the famous Delhi-based politician’s wife and his wife are first cousins, and since they are from Hyderabad, he is here to do the investment on behalf of the politician. The politician wants to divert some of his money into his wife’s name, our reporter’s name and his wife’s name, in insurance policies.

We advise that she can come over to the minister’s house and have a telephonic talk with our minister. Our reporter, of course, lives in Delhi with the politician.

Sudhir seeks to know who the politician is: “Naam toh pooch sakti hoon na, kaun se netaji (Ican at least ask the name, right? Who is the politician)?”

Refusing to disclose the name of the minister, we insist that this will be our first condition and that the policy would be in the wife’s name.

The branch head suggests that accounts be opened “Aap ko bhi achcha rahega (This will also be good for you).” We give her the green signal for it.

When she why we have approached her bank, we say since the bank is near to where the minister’s wife stays, it will make things easier for her. The reporter says he does not stay much in Hyderabad.

The manager understands and advises us to complete the deal and leave.

The reporter asks whether it would be safe to open accounts or put money directly into insurance.

She asks about transactions. Our reporter reminds that all the money is in cash. The manager nods, thinks for a while, and explains: “Madam ke naam pe hum ek account khol denge, usme daal denge, aur… madam ke name par, insurance karenge (We will open an account in the name of “madam” [the minister’s wife]. We will put the money into that and from there; we will do insurance in madam’s name).”

We see the plan and ask if all the money will be converted to white?

Manager says that every four years, payments will be to the tune of Rs 20 lakh. She states: “Aapke naam pe aa jata, account me credit nahin hota (It comes in your name. It does not get credited to the account).”

“Tax exempted hai pura (It is fully tax-exempted),” the manager adds.

We say we could do two such policies. Then we ask for more plans available, because there is more money available in cash.

Then she talks about a five-year plan: “Woh aap daal sakte… (You can put money in that also).”
Can we put any amount?
“Nahin jitna marzi nahin … Aap 20–25 lakh tak… daal sakte (No, not whatever you want, youcan put in Rs 20-25 lakh).”

So can we put in Rs 25 lakh for each of the three people?
“Daal sakte (You can),” Sudhir assures.
So then do it, all in cash. Tax exempted.
She asks our reporter to also open an account, but he says he doesn’t want to. The accounts would be opened in the names of the two wives.

So there will be no income tax issues, we ask?

“Kuch bhi nahin hoga Sir (Noting will happen Sir).”

So is there a PAN card issue involved?

The manager has a good suggestion. “Aap account me se cheque issue kar sakte. Aap Allahabad Bank me account hai bol rahe na? Usme se account kholne ke liye initially cheque issue kar dijiye (You can issue a cheque from your account. You say you have an account with the Allahabad Bank, right? To open an account from that, issue a cheque initially).”

And what about the cash? Will that not be traced?

“Cash aap… daal sakte.. isme tracing nahin aata. Tracing aap ko tab hoga jab agar aap ko … kuch transactions hua. Matlab apko transactions ka track kahin pe hua… Matlab yeh Hyderabad mein aap transaction kar rahe hain… if you do any transaction with anybody… that particular account is called for any explanation, then you check from there where it has been routed… In that sense if they too track all that then it comes… (You can put in cash in it. There is no tracing in this. Tracing happens when you have some transactions. That means any of your transactions are tracked somewhere. Say, you are doing the transaction in Hyderabad…if you do any transaction with anybody… that particular account is called for any explanation, then you check from there where it has been routed… In that sense if they too track all that then it comes…)”

Then what if our account is tracked?

“Nahin… (No).” Then the manager sets down to explain: “Say you are doing transactions in Delhi. If you have any financial transactions between you and me, two parties are here. In case [of] any transaction between your account to that account, if I have been called for an income tax explanation, then my account has been tracked by the income tax people. They will see the transfers from your account too … if they check that kahan se aa raha hai… (from where it is coming) in that sense…”

We then ask her not to take that cheque from Allahabad bank either and take full cash.

But she insists: “Initial transaction ek to chahiye… (One cheque is needed for initial transaction…).”

We say there is money lying in Allahabad bank as well, so these two accounts could be traced.
“Initial amount toh Rs 1 lakh ki cheque … baad me aap paisa dal dijiye (Initial amount of Rs 1 lakh in cheque, you can pay in cash later),” she insists. “What I am trying to tell you, even if we don’t tell you also, it’s not fair on our part no…”

We say we will also have to think our part of the issue. He is a well known politician. If his name is out there will problems.

The manager is helpful: “Aap ek kaam bhi kar lijiye… small lockers available hai. If you want to keep something in that, you can keep it (Do one thing, small lockers are available. If you want to keep something in that, you can keep it).”

She says that she will convert the money into larger denominations and give it to us. We ask for 1,000 rupee currency denominations.

However, she wants to go step by step: “Hum log account khol ne ke bad… (After we have opened the accounts…).”

She adds: “Locker hum log ek de dete (We will give one locker).”

We ask how much can be accommodated in the lockers?

The manager is knowledgeable. “4–4.5 tak aa jata (Rs 4-4.5 crore will fit),” she says.

So we ask for the locker and say put in it whatever fits – Rs 4 crore or 5 crore.
“Dusra amount jo hai, woh hum account me daal denge… us me se we will do the investments, (Whatever the second amount is, we will put that in the accounts. From that, we will do the investments),” she says.

Next we broach the subject of taking money out of the country. We say the minister’s wife wants to send money to a relative in Jordan.

She says: “…remittance hum log kar sakte hai (We can do remittance).”
So how is this done?
“Account me.. paise daal de, aur yahan se wahan bhejne ke liye SWIFT message rakha… agar woh details , woh bank ka naam, unka account number… hum ko de deta… (We put money in the account and leave a SWIFT message to send the money from here to there. Give us the name of the bank and their account number for that).”

How much can be sent through this method? “Usme koi restrictions nahin hai… jitna kar sake… utna kar sakte (There are no restrictions in this. You can send as much as you can).”
Is it possible to send Rs 5 crore to Jordan, we dig?

“Woh hum nikaal sakte hai… koi reasons hai… (We can move this money out… some reasons have to be given…),” she avers.

Will you handle all that?

Sudhir nods her head and says: “Unka koi documents zaroorat parta hai. (There will be some documents required for that).”

We say that though the minister has a relative in Jordan, not much detail would be available.

But the manager assures: “Unka details nahin, aapse kuch, apse kuch documents… unka particulars kuch bhi nahi chahiye… unka… routing particulars chahiye…. purpose kaun sa, hum log nikal ke… (We don’t require any details of the person. Nor is there a requirement of any documents particularly. We just require routing particulars. What is the purpose, we will figure out something…).”

We ask if there would be any problem if we send Rs 5 crore to Jordan through this bank.
“Remittance ko kuch bhi nahin hota (Nothing happens with the remittance),” says Sudhir.
Is this a neat and clean route, we ask?
“Haan neat and clean.. agar wahaan se bhi aap… remittance aaye toh bhi kuch problem nahin rehta. (Yes, neat and clean. And even if the remittance comes in from there, there is no problem),” Sudhir assures.

Curious, she asks: “Aap ka kuch business… (You have some business)?” Then she explains. “Most of the people are doing, you know, they are taking out the money and sending it … and then setting up the business…”

Then she reveals the statistics. “This is the biggest branch in South. This is a 1,000 crore branch. Us me 500 crore ka pura liabilities rakhe… 500 crore ka loans portfolios. (This is the biggest [ING] branch in the south. This is a Rs 1,000 crore branch. In this there are Rs 500 crore of liabilities and Rs 500 crore of loans portfolios),” she says

Sudhir tells us that she reports to the cluster head of the bank. We suggest her to bring in the cluster head also in the evening for the meeting.

She again insists that the reporter too opens an account. The reporter says that he does not want to because then, there will be questions as to why he had come all the way to Banjara Hills in Hyderabad and opened an account with Rs 5 crore.
“Baaki … aap locker me daal dete… (The rest you can keep in the locker).”
Nobody will come to know what is in the locker, we prod?

“It won’t be known to anybody. We have so many good customers like that… we don’t know… what is that they’re going to keep,” the manager assures.
Are there any big politicians who are keeping money like this? “…family members ka rehta hai… (It is of their family members).”

So we decide that in the evening, at 7pm, Sudhir would come with her staff, talk over the phone with the minister, have tea, get the forms signed, take the cash and sign the slip before she leaves. With that we bid farewell to the bankers.

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