PARLIAMENT STREET, CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA
OPERATION RED SPIDER, PART- 2

PARLIAMENT STREET, CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA

cobrapost |
April 27, 2013

Parliament Street, Central Bank Of India: A. Mohan, Deputy General Manager, Parliament Street, New Delhi


Parliament Street, Central Bank Of India: A. Mohan, Deputy General Manager, Parliament Street, New Delhi; G. Prakash, Chief Manager, LIC of India, New Delhi

Big people deal with big money. A Deputy General Manager of a government bank and a chief manager of LIC provide their expert laundering tips, ranging from putting all our cash in one-shot to availing a loan on our investment. Claims G. Prakash: “LIC … agar Income Tax Department bhi aate … aise 23 crore policy bechi hui hain …. kisika nahin dete … unless ki attachment ho … koi income [tax] authority mere paas aa ke nahin bol sakta hai ki inka policy number ye hai aur kitni paisa jama hai (Even if the Income Tax Department comes … 23 crore policies have been sold [by us] … the LIC won’t tell about it to anybody … unless there is an attachment … none of the Income [Tax] authorities can come to us and giving us a policy number ask how much a fellow has deposited) … They cannot ask.”

When the Cobrapost journalist walks up to his desk, Deputy General Manager A. Mohan is busy.

Our reporter announces the purpose of his visit: A minister wants to make a big investment in his wife’s name for a long term.

The senior banker of Central Bank of India on Parliament Street in Central Delhi of the national capital immediately seeks to know: “Politician kaun hai (Who is that politician)?”

It would be too premature to disclose the identity of the minister, our reporter parries the probing question, that is why all the investment has to be done in the name of the minister’s wife.

Mohan asks next: “Amount kitna hai uska (What is the amount he has)?”

About Rs. 5–7 crore right now, we up the stakes as Mohan is not a minion of a banker but one of the top-most in hierarchy with this government bank with many years of experience behind him. We are expecting Rs. 25–26 crore late March.

However, the DGM remains unmoved, and takes out some papers to educate us on various schemes available with his bank.

But there would be TDS, we come to know. So what about LIC? We suggest the banker.
This opens up the discussion, as Mohan says: “LIC, haan, LIC bhi hum log karate hain (LIC, yes, we also do LIC [policies]).”

We come to know now that the Central Bank of India has a tie-up with Life Insurance Corporation of India, to sell products of the state-owned insurer, as corporate agent.
Casually, we tell Mohan that we have cash and ask him how this could be handled.

Mohan says cash can be accepted but there is some hitch: “Wo cash … jama ho jayega … lekin PAN number quote karna parega (The cash will be deposited, but we will have to quote the PAN number).”

But our PAN might be disclosed, the reporter raises a concern for obvious reasons.

Mohan says: “Hum disclose nahin karte … but … legally bade amount mein jo cash deposit hota hai … usmein kabhi kabhi Income Tax wale humse poochte hain (We do not disclose it on our own, but legally, when a big amount is involved, the Income Tax people sometimes ask us).”

This is really a dampener for us, and Mohan can’t help us with lockers, either, as his branch deals with corporate finance. Regular branches would have them, so we request him to help us get a big locker with some other branch of his bank.

The DGM gets a phone number from one of his officers and calls the LIC official, G. Prakash. After discussing about Bima Bachat, an insurance-cum-savings product, with no TDS, Mohan asks Prakash to come over.

Turning to the reporter, the DGM explains the basics of the 9-year policy and the returns. The money can be withdrawn after 3 years, we come to know, and one can also avail himself of loan.

Would the returns on it be in white, we ask.

Replies Mohan: “Haan (Yes).”

We insist the method has to be “safe.”

He assures: “LIC ka jo humare … jayega wo pakka hai … 100 per cent safe hai (What we give to LIC is 100 per cent safe).”

As the conversation moves on, we tell him how the minister’s investment of Rs. 25 crore with a builder has run into rough weather. A compromise has been reached after arm-twisting by the minister and Rs. 37–38 crore cash would be returned. Our cock and bull story arouses interest in Mohan.

It is important to make it white, we again insist.

Mohan says: “Ye LIC ka … manager khud aa raha hai … baith ke baat kar loonga (The LIC manager himself is coming, we’ll sit and talk).”

We ask if he has done such LIC policies for others.

Replies Mohan: “Bahut karaya (Have done many).”

Enters G. Prakash, Chief Manager, LIC of India, and the DGM apprises him of our proposal: “Right now around 10 crores ye invest karna chahte hain … invest private mein nahin karna chahte hein … bank mein karna chahte hein … ya LIC jaisi sanstha mein karna chahte hein … aur cash hai inkea paas (Right now they want to invest around Rs. 10 crore … they do not want to invest with private [banks] but with [government] banks or institutions such as LIC … they have cash).”

Says G. Prakash in awe: “Cash mein toh fir … (In cash, then …).”

But Mohan raises his hand to calm the insurer down: “PAN number dene ka taiyar hain (They are ready to give the PAN).”

Prakash’s immediate reaction is: “Ho jaiyega (Will be done).”

The DGM further says that it has to be done in the name of the minister. It is about Rs. 10 crore and there would be more money soon.

Prakash is prompt in his answer: “Koi dikkat nahin hai … PAN number hai toh ho jayega (No problem, if there is PAN number then it will be done).” There is no TDS but the returns would be delivered through NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) only.
Would the money then become white?

“Haan (Yes),” assures Prakash.

Hope, the taxman does not question us some time later after we have invested this way. We raise our concern.

Replies Prakash: “Nahin koi question nahin (No, [there will be] no questions).”

And which account would our returns be credited into? We ask.

What both the banker and the insurer suggest reveals how such deals could be cut with the help government financial institutions, in the most secretive manner.

Mohan assures to get us a “very confidential” account with a branch in our neighbourhood: “Fir bhi main aapka ek aisi branch mein khulwa doonga jahan aap ghar ke paas ka account hoga aur bahut confidential rahega (Anyway, I will get an account opened for you in a branch which is closer to your home and it will remain very confidential).” This banking at your convenience best!

On the other hand, Prakash chips in: “Hum log bhi nahin batate kis ka paisa hai (We also don’t tell, whose money it is).”

What more we need when our money is going to be laundered without a word going out.

Prakash educates us on the term of the one-time investment plan and returns on it, which are tax-free, and how we could take a loan almost 60 per cent of the sum assured.

Would there be a problem while withdrawing the money from the account?

The DGM simplifies what Prakash wants to say: “Withdraw karne mein koi problem nahin … inka kehna ye hai ki dus crore ka jo … payment ayega NEFT se … aapke account … mil jayega … aap wo account nahin dikhao aap ki upar hai (There is no problem at the time of withdrawing … [referring to the LIC official] what he is saying is that the payment of returns on Rs. 10 core [of your investment] will come through NEFT into your account … if you don’t want to show that account, it is up to you).”

Now the question is how to put in the cash.

Prakash asks: “Kitne member hain family mein (How many members you have in the family)?”

Three, we say, and all have PAN.

Prakash suggests: “Fir kya dikkat … tin mein divide kar lo (So what is the problem? … Divide [the money] it into three).”

Would the money be put directly into investment or be routed through accounts, we ask.

Suggests Prakash: “Cash de sakte … cash … seedha bank mein dalwa denge … jisi bank mein account hai wahin pe hum cash bula ke pay-in-slip le lete hain … aur hum rasid katke policy banwa dete hain … paisa aapko ek bank mein le ke ana hai (You can give cash … we will deposit the cash straight into the bank … where you have an account … we will collect the pay-in-slip … and will give you a receipt …. issue the policy … you have to bring the money to a bank).”

Would the tax people come to know about it? Our reporter asks with a concern in our voice.
Brushing aside our concern, Prakash explains: “LIC … agar Income Tax Department bhi aate … aise 23 crore policy bechi hui hain …. kisika nahin dete … unless ki attachment ho … koi income [tax] authority mere paas aa ke nahin bol sakta hai ki inka policy number ye hai aur kitni paisa jama hai (Even if the Income Tax Department comes … 23 crore policies have been sold [by us] … the LIC won’t tell about it to anybody … unless there is an attachment … none of the Income [Tax] authorities can come to us and giving us a policy number ask how much a fellow has deposited) … They cannot ask.”

Are the income tax authorities listening?

Is this guaranteed? We want to be doubly reassured.

“This is guaranteed,” assures Prakash.

Now, we know why people like to invest in insurance. If this is the case with LIC, and we have no reason to not believe a senior official like Prakash, with the rank of chief manager, then it should not be different with other insurance companies.

We move to the next important item on our wish-list.

We are expecting a huge amount of cash in March. Would you provide us a big locker?

DGM Mohan nods in agreement: “Theek hai (Alright).”

Our reporter invites the banker to come over to meet the minister.

DGM Mohan assures: “Hum dono hi aa jayenge (Yes, we both will come).”

In a side discussion with Prakash, the LIC senior official discloses: “Cash wala toh kum hi aata hai … DD ka toh jab chahe (Cash cases are few … but [investment by] DD are routine).”

Most of the people, we come to know, invest their money by converting it into demand draft.

What about making us available a machine to count all our cash? We ask the banker.

Mohan tells us it would be made available in the branch where we would be getting the locker.

Prakash says about the loan: “Ye jo aapko loan aata hai na sub ek number mein hokar aata hai (This loan you will get is all in Number one [white]).”

We ask Prakash if he has politicians among his clients who have running investment plans with LIC.

Prakash has many but won’t reveal their names: “Daalte hi rahte hain magar hum kisi ka disclose nahin karte hain (They routinely put in [their money] but we don’t disclose it to anyone).”

We quite appreciate their commitment to secrecy, rest assured as we are that our affair would also be kept a secret.

Now, the last but not the least!

The minister’s wife often goes to England often. She wants to transfer Rs. 30–40 lakh, twice, to someone there from the cash that would be parked in the lockers. Would the DGM arrange this?

“Wo to jis branch mein locker ho … wahin se wo kar dega (That will be done from the branch where the locker would be).”

We don’t know if the banker had got the import of what we had asked him for. Anyway, before we say goodbye, we remind them not to disclose anything about it.

In unison, they assure our reporter: Nothing will be disclosed.


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