“Aur bhi accounts hote hain na sir…kiske through kaise route karna hai sab dekh lenge (There are some other accounts, Sir. How it is to be routed through which account we will see to it)”

Walking into this branch of Axis Bank in a tony locality of East Delhi in the national capital, the banker at the desk our Cobrapost reporter comes across is none other than Deputy Manager A. Mishra. It is a cold day and Mishra is rubbing hands to ward the cold off. But once Mishra hears his visitor is there to talk about an investment of Rs. 50 lakh, he forgets the biting cold and warms up to our reporter and upon his request takes him to the comfort of a separate room.

Once seated there, our reporter tells who he is representing and why is he there: A minster wants to invest Rs. 50 lakh black money in cash around Rs. 50 lakh in some long-term insurance plan. It has to be invested in three names: the frontman, our reporter himself, the frontman’s wife and the politician’s wife. The purpose: make the money white.

Mishra is prompt to say: “Acha main cheez white ki hai (So, the main issue is of white)?” He then begins to educate our reporter accordingly on various options including FDs: “Toh FDR mein aapko bahut zyada white wali situation nahin milegi … basically kya hai jaise ki aap FD kar rhea hain … kahin bhi aap FD karayenge PAN card toh must hogi (So, in FDR you will not have a situation big enough to make it white… basically what happens, suppose you invest in FD … wherever you invest in FD, PAN is mandatory).” So, it is better to opt for one of the long-term insurance products that his bank operates in tie-up with Max Life.

Mishra is eager to know who the politician is. It won’t be advisable for him to disclose his name, the reporter tells the tested alibi. Why worry when you can come over to meet him in person. Mishra says: “Aap jo keh rahe hain wo cheez thik hai… ek toh main… doosra branch head… doh logon ko loop mein le ke chalenge to zyada wo rahega (What you are telling is alright. It will be better if you keep me and my branch manager in the loop to move forward).”

Coming back to investments, our reporter tells Mishra that the minister has no dearth of wealth, and his prime motive is to convert all the money earned on the sly into white. Mishra suggests to “mixover” various options. Then, detailing the modalities of payment in a particular plan, Mishra claims that there will be no trouble from the Income Tax people. This is how it happens: “Ye paisa aap saat saal dete hain… aathwein saal aapse nahin poocha jayega… koi nahin pooch sakta kabhi bhi…isliye better option yeh hai ki dus saal baad aap paisa nikalein (You pay the money for 7 years, in the eighth year no one is going to ask you about it … no one can ask you ever … hence the better option is you withdraw the money after 10 years).”

Thus, we can make our money white by investing it insurance, without the Income Tax Department ever bothering to trouble us.

My master, the minister, is expecting Rs. 5–7 crore in February. Would his bank provide a locker big enough to keep all the cash in bills of 500, asks our reporter?
Not a big deal! Says Mishra: “Humare yahan jo lockers hote hain unmein wohi cheez hoti hai…locker dila doonga koi dikkat nahin hai…ye coincidence hai ki aaj jo humare sabse bada locker hai wo khali ho raha hai (In all the lockers here only the same thing is kept there. We will get you the locker, there is no problem. It is a coincidence that the biggest locker we have is being surrendered today).” But won’t the cash be kept in the locker pilfered by the staff of the bank? The reporter raises his concern.
Reassuring him, Mishra tells that there are two keys, one is kept with the bank and the other is in owner’s possession. It is only when both keys are put to use does the locker open. The banker inserts only one key and then leaves the rest to the owner. He says: “Aap usmein kuch bhi rakhiye (You can keep whatever you want there).”

Mishra is an experienced banker having worked in various banks, and this reflects in the confidence he oozes. He needs no coaxing to explain how he is going to make it happen for us. Some sweet nothings does the trick, as he goes on to say: “Jaise account mein wo paisa aayega … toh usko fir number of accounts mein jaayenge … number of accounts hoga cash … aapke liye easy hoga manage karna… jaise CA bhi invest karenge … CA bhi yehi kahenge (As soon as the money comes into the account, we will keep it in a number of accounts. All accounts will have cash, so that it is easy for you to manage. Even if your CA invests it for you, the CA too will also suggest the same).”

Do you mean you will route the cash through accounts, asks the reporter? Or will you put the cash directly into investment? Replies Mishra: “Jaise aap karo… jo aapko suit kare (Do as you like …whatever suits you).”

Do what is comfortable for you. But do it in cash only if you have done this way for other customers also, pitches in our reporter with caution. To our surprise, Mishra says doing it in cash has its own advantages: “Cash mein toh sabse bada advantage ye hai ki aap jaise pehle saal aap cash mein kara bhi dete hain toh doosre saal mein na agar aapko paisa dena hai to monthly bhi pay kar sakte hain cash mein… yehin pe kahin nahin jaana aapko … aapko sub kuch yehin se milega … aapko dubara kahin nahin jana (The biggest advantage doing it in cash is suppose you pay cash in the first year… the second year if you want to pay in cash then it can be done even on a monthly basis … here only … you don’t have to go anywhere … you will get everything done here itself … you don’t have to go anywhere else).” Our reporter is quick to invite him again to the meeting with the minister.

Mishra then comes up with more options: “Ismein na Sir aur bhi kuch options hain … gold ka bhi ek option rakhenge (There are some more options. We will keep an option of gold).” Assuring him that he will have no difficulty in investing in gold, he says that many jewelers buy gold from his bank.

But do they pay by cheque to buy gold from your bank, asks the reporter? Mishra now reveals the secret how his bank helps people make their money white: “Aur bhi accounts hote hain na sir…kiske through kaise route karna hai sab dekh lenge (There are some other accounts, Sir. How it is to be routed through which account we will see to it).”

We can’t ask for more!
Then why don’t you route our cash through those accounts only to make our investments safe, the reporter pleads? Mishra is willing: “Maine ye kaha na doosre wala option bhi dekh lenge… aapke hisaab se hona hai wo saare option dekh lenge (We will explore that option also … it has to be done according to what suits you, we will look at all options).” The suggestion is unmistakable. The bank has certain “doosre” accounts to help people clean their money without any fear.

Such accounts can be useful for us for the big amount, about Rs. 5–6 crore, that is due any time soon, surmises our reporter.

Mishra goes on to claim about the kind of the clientele his bank entertains: “Ye jo belt hai na builder belt hai … aapko toh idea hoga almost saare jo wo hain … ye builder belt hai toh entry ghoomna koi itni badi cheez nahin hai …lekin ye cheez hai ki saari cheezein dekh ke chalni padengi (This belt is builders’ belt … you must have an idea how almost all those … this is builders’ belt …so it is not difficult to manipulate things … but we will have to move keeping all those things in mind).”

 Now, everybody knows how builders earn and what the colour of their money is.
But do it only if have you have done it for others, says our reporter, and tell us if they had troubles later. This is just to bring in some confidence. Mishra allays all such apprehensions to rest: “Kaiyon ka kaafi saal ho gaye hain … aisi koit dikkat nahin hoti … kaafi ache naam hain… lekin charcha nahi honi chahiye to acha hai… ye ksi bhi business ka rule hota hai…kisi ka bhi disclosure nahi hota hai (There are many for years … there has never been problem like that …there are some very good names but it is for our good that they should not be revealed. This is a business rule. There is no disclosure).” We quite appreciate this approach!

A firm believer in long-term relationship, Mishra further claims: “Sir main aapko bataun…jitne bhi paise waale hain… chahe wo cricketers hon, filmstars hon ya politician, teenon log hian paise wale … business mein, sub ka paisa builders ke paas hi jaata hai… aap kisi cricketer ka naam bataiyein toh main aapko builder ka naam bata doonga… toh kiska paisa kahan jaata hai aur kisse kya milta hai … agar aapke paas paisa hai to paise ko set karna bhi aana chahiye (Sir I will tell you. Be it cricketers, filmstars or politicians only these people have money … in business, all money goes to builders. Tell me the name of a cricketer, I will tell you the builder’s name … whose money goes where and who earns what… if you have money then you should also know to ‘set’ the money).” We have no doubt about it.

Cooking up a story our reporter says that the politician is set to get about Rs. 40 crore from a murky deal, dropping hints. Mishra says: “Main aapko ye nahin deta hun mera isse involvement hai usse involvement hai … bus ek customer kuch din baad aisa hota hai na ek reference chain hoti hai…agar aap kahin baithe honge na aur baat chal rah hogi ki mere pachas set ho gaye to doosre apne aap hi aa jaate hain…trust to apne aap ban jayega usmein koi doubt hai hi nahin (I will not tell you that I have involvement here, I have involvement there. Only a customer … after some days there is a reference chain. If you are sitting somewhere and discussing that you have set 50, then others approach us automatically … trust will build up on its own. There is no doubt about it).” So, it requires only a customer to “set” his Rs. 50 lakh, then you have customers queuing up for investment.

As for documents required, Mishra does not ask for the PAN card, which is mandatory for transactions above Rs 50,000. A passport is enough to serve the purpose.

The minister’s often goes to England. Can we send overseas some of the Rs. 5–7 crore? Mishra agrees to render all possible help: “Wo ho jayega… ek aur bhi concept hota hai… usmein cards ka concept hota hai… TCDC cards bolte hain … ya outward remittance hota hai… wo dekh lenge usme koi issue nahin hoga (That will be done … there is a concept of cards … they call it TCDC card …or it is done through outward remittance … we will see that … there is no issue).”
We will keep the cash in the lockers and you can route the money from there, in smaller chunks, suggests our reporter. It hardly matters, says Mishra: “Locker mein rahe ya account mein rahe… account mein bhi rakh sakte hain (It can be kept either in the locker or in the account… it can also be kept in the account).”

How can we put so much cash, Rs. 5–7 crore, in account, wonders our reporter?
Mishra has other ideas: “PAN card ke bina rakh sakte hain…aapke account se bhi kar sakte hain… doosre ke account se bhi kar sakte hain (It can be kept there without PAN card. It can be done through your account or through someone else’s account).”

Can you then route our money to overseas using some other accounts. We will pay the expenses, proffers the reporter. Replies Mishra with the nonchalance of a professional launderer: “Wo best hai… wo humare nahin hote wo customer ke charges hote hain … che per cent, char per cent wo lenge jo genuine honge… wohi wo lega usse zyada nahin (That will be the best … we don’t charge for it but those are customer’s charges … hardly 6 per cent, 4 per cent … whatever the customer will charge, it will be genuine … he will not charge a single penny over that).”

But he will not commit on that count: “Uska reason ye hota hai ki jo cheez kisi aur ko karni hai uske liye main aapko commit nahin kar sakta… maine aapko ek hisaab bata diya (The reason is that I cannot commit on something that has to be done by some other person. I have given you a rough figure).”

Promising to keep trust and meet the coming Monday to take the deal forward, the meeting concludes. But before that, Mishra doesn’t mind to give our reporter a mouthful of advice to not consult the CA. The CA may turn a spoilsport.

A. Mishra’s reaction to the investigation: Recalling what transpired between our reporter and him, he went into denial when he came to know the identity of the reporter.

 


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