cobrapost |
April 27, 2013


Punjab National Bank, Case 1, S. Mishra, Chief Manager, South Delhi

Never minding to ask what the source of such huge cash as proposed to be invested is, this banker likes to personally deal with the client

Taking a casual stroll into this branch of Punjab National Bank somewhere in South Delhi, the Cobrapost journalist approaches a senior banker. But the banker is not so forthcoming when he proposes to make some handsome investment for a long period. Disappointed, our reporter goes to meet Chief Manager S. Mishra.

The branch head is talking on phone when our reporter takes a seat and tells him he has to discuss about some big investment. The call over, the branch head turns to him: “Haan Sir batayein … humare yahan account hai (Yes Sir, tell me … do you have an account with us).”
We would love to have one, says the reporter. A known politician wants to invest in some long-term instrument. It is to be done in three names. Initially, we will start with Rs. 50–60 lakh, and then the minister is expecting Rs. 5–7 crore in March first week. So, tell us if we could invest in some deposit scheme where there is no TDS.

Mishra replies: “Dekhiye Sir hum Form 15 H se lete hain (Look Sir we take it through Form 15 H).

Then there would again be the problem of TDS, says the reporter.

A thinking Mishra asks:“TDS mein toh … dekho amount abhi kitna daalenge (In case of TDS … look, what amount you want to put in right away)?”

Whatever you are comfortable with, says the reporter. We have to do it in cash.
Mishra asks: “Ayega toh account ke through hi ayega na (It will come through an account only).”

Misunderstanding the point, our reporter says it would be problematic if we do it through our accounts.

To remove the confusion, Mishra says: “Matlab … abhi humare paas jo cash jama hoga wo toh account mein hi jama hoga … wahin se hum FD mein dalwa denge (I mean, the cash you will be depositing with us will be deposited in the account only … from there we will route it into FD).”

Exactly, says our reporter. What about investing in some insurance product, asks the reporter.
Why not! MetLife is there to help you, says Mishra.

Would there be any tax deduction and would our money become white? The reporter comes to the motive of investment.

Says Mishra: “Nahin usmien kuch nahin … saara tax free hota hai … wo white ho ke ayega … plus usmein bhi jo aapko milega wo tax free rahega (No, there is nothing like that … all will be tax free … that will come as white …plus whatever you will get will all be tax free).” Assuring us on that count, Mishra suggests the reporter to invest both in FDs and in insurance.

Our reporter invites Mishra over a meeting with the minister the next evening.
Mishra is quick to accept the offer: “Kar lete hain (Sure, I will meet him).” He then quickly exchanges the phone number with the reporter.

The reporter then asks him if he would allot a locker to the minister’s wife. You know what a nightmare it is to keep such huge cash at home.

Appreciating the concern, Mishra agrees to do the favour: “Chalo wo bhi karwa denge (Ok, I will do that too).” The conversation is going on while Mishra is doing his office work.

When the reporter tells him why he chose a government bank over a private one, Mishra immediately begins to count the demerits of banking with private banks: Their main motive is personal profit, nothing else, and then there is no stability among their personnel. On the other hand, whatever business we generate here it is for the bank only.

And then there is secrecy, chips in our reporter.

Nodding his head in agreement, he says that they never share any information with outsiders.
That is exactly what we want. The minister has a name. He may get a bad name, otherwise, if anybody happens to know about this affair, particularly the opposition.

Mishra reassures again: “Ye sub toh bahut confidential cheezein hoti hain na … ab matlab agar aapko nahin jaanta hai koi toh wo aapko … matlab entertain koi nahin karega yahan …. kisi bhi soorat mein (All these things are very confidential … I mean if nobody knows you here then they would … I mean nobody will entertain you here in any case).”

That is why the minister sent me to do the job on his behalf keeping it as discreet as possible, says the reporter appreciating the secrecy banks like his maintain. He then asks for a big locker.
Replies Mishra; “Koshish karoonga main (I will try).”

Reporter again tells him that the minister is expecting Rs. 5–7 crore of cash in bills of 500 and if the big locker is not available he can allot us two lockers to keep the cash there.
Mishra has no problem: “Do de denge (Will give you two).”

What about counting the currency notes?

That too would be taken care of. Says Mishra: “Wo ho jayegi (That will be done).”
The banker seeks to know the name of the minister but is disappointed when the reporter tells him his name has not to be disclosed. Every penny has to be invested in his wife’s name only.

The reporter tells the banker to use only a method of investment which is “safe,” so that there is no problem in future.

Mishra doesn’t shirk from giving us his word: “Koshish humari dekhiye … jo bhi cheez hogi aapko disclose karke karenge … saari cheezein aapke humare beech mein saari baat ho karke … jo safest mode hai ussi se (You see, we try … whatever we will do we will disclose it to you … everything will be discussed threadbare between you and us … we will do it using the safest method).”

That is why we approached you, says the reporter, and didn’t discuss it with any of your staff. The reporter is effusive in his praise of the banker. Seconds Mishra: “Zaroorat hi nahin … aur batane ki in future bhi koi zaroorat nahin (There is no need … and there is no need to tell anybody in future also).”

Mishra continues to assure that only he will deal with the reporter: “Jo bhi dealing hai … agar humein kisi ko batana hoga ki aap isse se ye jaankari le lijiye tab hum aapko wahi number denge utne hi kaam ke liye ki aap ye cheez unse pooch sakte ho agar by chance main bahar hoon toh (Whatever the dealing … if I have to tell you that you can seek that particular information from somebody … only then will I give you his number for that specific purpose telling you can ask him about this thing … if by chance I am out of town).” We are sure this banker is going to be an asset for us, ready as he is to take it upon himself to serve us the way we want.

One more thing! The minister’s wife often visits England. Could we send some of the Rs. 5–7 crores that would be kept in your lockers to some of her relatives out there, say, in chunks of Rs. 30–40 lakh each two three times?

Mishra doesn’t disappoint: “Wo humara hota hai … hum foreign exchange office ke through karwa denge … haan karwa denge (That is done … I will get it done through our foreign exchange office … yes I will get it done).”

Before taking his leave, our reporter enquires about the size of lockers. Mishra tells about the size with his hands, which does not look big enough to keep Rs. 5–7 crore of hard cash in bills of 500. Even two lockers will not be enough. Would he then allot us three lockers?

Thinking for moment, replies Mishra: “Doh mein aa jayenge … nahin ayenge … doh nahin teen de denge … usmein kya dikkat hai (They will be accommodated in two … if not accommodated … not two … I will give you three lockers … what is the problem with that).”

Fine, says our reporter, but can’t we get currency notes of Rs. 1000 for bills of 500 from your bank to make it easier.

Yes, it will be done. Says Mishra: “Kar denge hazaar ke ho jayenge (that will be done … will arrange bill of 1000).”

On a happy note, our reporter takes his leave with a promise to meet again next evening.

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