ICICI BANK, CASE 2: R. GUPTA, BRANCH MANAGER, ICICI PRUDENTIAL, AGRA
OPERATION RED SPIDER, PART- 1

ICICI BANK, CASE 2: R. GUPTA, BRANCH MANAGER, ICICI PRUDENTIAL, AGRA

cobrapost |
July 26, 2011

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Why it is not good to invest with banks: “Saara paisa aap doh number mein nahin laga payenge (You will not be able to invest all in No. 2)”

ICICI Prudential is a sister arm of ICICI Bank. Here, once the pleasantries are over, the reporter tells Branch Manager R. Gupta the same story about a politician who wants to invest Rs. 50–60 lakh in some long-term insurance plan with guaranteed returns. The investment has to be made in the names of three individuals: the frontman, our reporter himself, the frontman’s wife and the politician’s wife.

Quick to understand the sensitive nature of the deal, Gupta politely takes the reporter to a separate room to keep the talk discreet. The politician is from Delhi and is expected in Agra this evening. The deal has to be finalized in a day or two. The minister is expecting Rs. 5–7 crore in February.

When the reporter tells him why he didn’t go to a bank, Gupta was quick to point out why it is not good to invest with banks: “Saara paisa aap doh number mein nahin laga payenge (You will not be able to invest all in No. 2).”

As the negotiations progress, Gupta seeks a meeting with the minister in the evening: “Aap shaam ko meeting fix karo (Fix a meeting for the evening).” The reporter agrees.

Promising about a 15 per cent return on the invested money, Gupta says: “Main 50 lakhs poora ek saath nahin loonga …main regular loonga … 10 into paanch saal kijiye aap (I will not take Rs. 50 lakh in one shot … I will take it on regular basis … multiply 10 by 5 years).” Gupta suggests a plan with the highest guaranteed returns, exempt from tax.

Will the money become white, the reporter asks? “Poora white hoke aayega (The entire money will come out in white).” Gupta adds: “Income tax ke return to honge nahin humare pass … PAN card dena nahin hai (You won’t be having the income tax returns … you won’t like to give PAN card either)?”

It will be good if he can manage without a PAN card, the reporter says.
Gupta replies: “Without PAN card agar aapko paisa dena hai to main kai din mein aapse paisa loonga (If you don’t want to give your PAN card, then I will take cash from you over several days).”

PAN or no PAN, Gupta has a way out: “Aapko poore raaste bata raha hoon main aapko… main aapko har raasta bata raha hoon … aaj aapse PAN card loonga, ek aapko driving licence se daloonga, ek aapke voter ID card se daloonga, ek aapke Aadhaar se daal doonga, ek passport se daal doonga (I am telling you all the ways to do it. Today I will take your PAN card. I will put one using your driving license, one I will put using PAN card, one I will put using voter ID, one I will put using Aadhaar, one I will put using passport).” So, he will use all the documents to make multiple investments possible.

When the reporter demurs, saying he’s afraid the numbers could match, Gupta reassures him: “Nahin bilkul match nahin karenge, Sir (No Sir, they will never match).” He continues: “Aap bond bhi faar ke fenk dena…pakarna hi nahin bond… bus number rakh lena (Tear off the bond paper and trash it. Just keep the number) … it should be in your mind.” Simply produce an indemnity bond of Rs. 200 and withdraw your claim, he says.

After Gupta explains a tailor-made plan, the reporter asks him if he has some customers who have already invested in cash. “Agar aap aisi baat karte hain toh main aapke saamne aise customers ke naam bhi khol sakta hun jo aapko bolenge ki Guptaji ke barabar jaanne wala shahar mein koi nahin hai (If you ask me this kind of thing then I can tell you the names of such customers who will tell you there is nobody in the city who knows more than Guptaji).”

As to the safety of the money, “Maze ki baat suno iss plan ka sabse major feature jo hai agar aap mujhe dus saal mein nahin dete ho aaj hi de dete ho poora paisa aur agle saal premium nahin dete ho to bhi paanch saal ke baad paisa aapko sadhe chaar–paanch per cent ki guarantee se paisa wapas milega … ek number mein (Listen to one interesting thing, the major feature of the this plan is that even if you don’t give the money in 10 years but give it to me today itself, and won’t pay the premium the next year, after 5 years you will still get back the money with 4.5–5.0 per cent of guaranteed returns, in No. 1).”

All will come in black and white on the bond. Gupta tells the reporter he will start with a cash deposit of less than Rs. 50,000 without a PAN card for every account. Surely this will be a time-consuming process, asks the reporter. “Aapko pata bhi nahin chelga kya ho gaya aapko pata bhi nahin chalega … aap kitne din mein chahte haim? … main ek hi din mein de doonga (You will not come to know how it happened, you will not come to know … in how many days do you want me to do it? … I will give you all in a single day).”

Gupta has another ace up his sleeve. He explains how he will do it without a PAN: “Main aapka PAN card loonga hi nahin aapka…main ek aapko dikhaoonga kisaan … main aapko kissan dikhaoonga aapse PAN card loonga hi nahin (I will not take your PAN card at all. I will show you as a farmer).”

Relax and don’t worry, he tells the reporter. Investing Rs. 50 lakh is not a big deal. “Pachees lakh daal rahe ho pachaas lakh daal rahe ho … pachees lakh ke to matlab local mein itne customer hain … bilkul koi issue nahin (You are investing Rs. 25 lakh, Rs. 50 lakh, I have many local customers who have invested Rs. 25 lakh).” To facilitate bigger investments, he would help with making demand drafts against the cash. “Dekho wo Gramin Bank hai wahan DD mein apni setting hai … agar aap 2–4 crore bhi kahoge na invest karna hai main wo bhi kar doonga (You see, I have a setting in the Gramin Bank for DDs. If you tell me you want to invest Rs. 2–4 crore I will manage even that).”

The reporter immediately asks the branch manager to help him convert Rs. 5–6 crore cash. Gupta promises to introduce him to a man who will do it for him for a fee of 4-5 per cent to convert black money into white. Jindaal is a dependable and trustworthy person who helps all the bigwigs of Agra with black money. The minister is going to receive Rs. 5–7 crore in February, the reporter confides in him, and another Rs. 35–37 crore may materialize sometime later from another deal. Gupta is ready to help: “Aap tension mat lein (Don’t have any tension on that account).” The branch manager is comforting too: “Tension mat lo aap (Don’t take tension)… see investment is something which is absolutely black and white.”

To win the trust of the prospective client, Gupta again claims that he has some bigwigs among his investors. Then he displays a message on his mobile phone showing an investment of Rs. 3 lakh in the name of one Ashok, on the personal staff of that investor. There have been many similar investments done by the same fellow. Coming back to the issue of investing in cash, he says: “Aap cash ki tension mat lijiye … mantriji ka ek portfolio aisa bana denge hum log ki pata bhi nahin chalega … paanch saal ka blockage hai … agle saal premium dete hain nahin dete koi tension nahin hai … apne aap chaar per cent apne aap aa jayega … unko dene ki chinta bhi nahin hai … main seedhi bataoon … unko white karna hai white ki jimmedaari meri ho gayi (You don’t take tension of the cash. We will make the minister’s portfolio in such a way that no one will know. Even if he does not pay the premium the next year, no worries. A return of 4 per cent will come automatically. Let me tell you frankly, the minister’s only concern is making it white. It is my responsibility).”

Gupta has no dearth of ideas to convert black money into white. He suggests RIS, a retirement investment plan in which one has to pay a premium for 7 years and get the returns after 15 years. The best feature of this plan is that the investment is never questioned after 7 years. Then you can always form a company and invest money in its name. After a few years, the company can be dissolved and all the investment can be transferred to the person’s name upon request.

Before the meeting comes to a close, both parties agree to meet again in the evening, with Gupta promising to introduce our reporter to Pradeep Jindaal. The branch manager says: “Matlab aapko main white ke sources ke liye mere paas mein kabhi aisi problem hai aapke saath mein mere paas bahut se option hai … humare paas saare option hain … aap iski tension mat lijiye (I mean if you ever have a problem with regard to sources of making the money white, I have a lot of options. You don’t take tension for it).”


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