Indian Overseas Bank, Case 1: K. Prasad, Senior Manager, Moradabad; A. Agarwaal, Manager, Life Insurance Corporation, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh

Seemingly upright, this government banker is open to finding solutions to help us make our black money white with the help of LIC Manager Agarwal

The Cobrapost journalist casually walks into this branch of Indian Overseas Bank somewhere in Moradabad, known for is brassware industry, in Uttar Pradesh. No sooner has he announced on the front desk of his intention of making some huge investment, he is promptly directed to the cabin of Senior Manager K. Prasad. Reiterating the purpose of his visit, our reporter enters his cabin. Prasad politely asks him to take a seat and then seeks to know what his calling is.
Our reporter tells who he is working for, a minister, and the investment has to be done in the names of three individuals, including his wife. Suggest where we could invest our money for long term. There should be no TDS.

Quick to understand our purpose, Prasad claims: “Bankon mein toh saara number ek ka kaam hai … TDS toh usmin agar Form 60 H denge toh TDS nahin katega … nahin denge toh TDS katega (Banks deal only in Number one … If you give Form 60 H then there would be no TDS … if you don’t give, there would be TDS).”

The senior manager initially treats our reporter in a bureaucratic manner, but once he comes to know we can put Rs.1 crore on his table his tone and tenor changes.

Can we invest in some insurance product through the bank? The reporter asks when the Prasad tells him that money invested in fixed deposits will show on the records. The reporter declares that his only intention is to turn the black money into white by investing it for 5–10 years.

Prasad wants to know: “Kitne rupaye hain (How much money is there [to invest]).”

Rs. 1 crore right now, says our reporter, and the minister is bringing in another Rs.7–8 crore by evening.

This catches Prasad’s attention, but he says everything will come on record if it is invested through the bank. The matter is, therefore, left for discussion with the chartered accountant at a later date.

But the problem of keeping the cash safe remains! Is it possible to get some lockers for stashing the cash, asks our reporter.

Prasad is ready to help: “Bada locker nahin hai humare paas … locker hum de denge unhein … khata khulwa lijiye (We don’t have big lockers … will give him [the minister] a locker … open an account with us).” He agrees to give us a small locker, instead, on short notice as someone is about to surrender it to the bank.

But would the locker be big enough to hold this much of cash in bills of 500, we ask?

Prasad offers: “Main aapko size dikha deta hoon (I will show you the size [of the lockers]).” The senior manager then takes the reporter to the locker room to assess the capacity of the lockers.

By now, Prasad has warmed up to our proposition and is ready to help our reporter. “LIC waale se aapki mulaqaat kara deta hoon … usse baat kar lete hain (I will arrange your meeting with the LIC person … let us talk to him),” offers Prasad once they are back into his cabin. Prasad then calls up someone with LIC and asks him to come over to the bank immediately, to meet our reporter.

In the meanwhile, our reporter asks the manager if the man from LIC is an agent. Prasad says that the person awaited is A. Agarwal, a manager with the LIC, and the investment would be done through his bank only. He assures: “Agent bahar ka nahi hai … ye uske manager hain LIC ke… (There is no outside agent involved … he is the manager of LIC).”

While Prasad is attending pending work, our reporter requests him to not let anything out.
Assures Prasad: “Jo record pe ayega wo toh record pe rahega … baaki disclose hum kisi ko nahin karte (What come in our records will remain there in the records … we don’t disclose anything to anybody).”

After not so long a wait, enters Agarwal, and without wasting any time he comes straight talking to business. To strike a note of familiarity, a business savvy Agarwal asks our reporter if they have met earlier. We must have met at the minister’s place, says our reporter, and we actually want to invest in cash to convert it into white.

Replies Agarwal without batting an eyelid: “Ho jayga … kitna dena chahte hain aap (Will be done … how much you want to invest).”

Rs.1 crore, says our reporter, and in three names, for a long term. Suggest us how we could do it. The purpose is to make it white.

Asks Agarwal: “Aap PAN number nahi dena chahte hain (You don’t want to give the PAN number).”

We would like to know both the options, says our reporter, with PAN card and without PAN card.

Thinking for a while, Agarwal says: “Actually, aap aisa karo 40–49000 ki kara lo (Do one thing, invest in chunks of Rs.40–49000).”

But such small amounts will require a lot of policies, says our reluctant reporter, and will be a cumbersome exercise, as the amount is big.

The LIC manager then suggests us to invest in Bima Bachat, especially designed for businessmen. Prasad advises us to clear all doubts with the LIC manager.

How much cash can be put in the policies?

This is of no concern for Agarwal: “Actually, LIC mein jaake number ek ka to ban hi jayega … doosri baat aapko return bhi mil raha hai FD se jyada (Actually, the money will become Number one [white] once it [money] gets into LIC … second, you will also get more returns than fixed deposits).”

Agarwal further talks about the option of taking a loan from the insurance company when needed. Returning to the main topic of discussion, he suggests: “Ab iska matlab hai aap laga do 35–35 lakh laga do issmein (Now this means that you can invest Rs. 35 lakh each in it).”
Agarwal asks for the income tax returns but the reporter is reluctant for obvious reasons. To allay our fears, an understanding Agarwal reassures: “Kuch nahin LIC mein aisa kuch nahi hai … main aapko bata raha hoon … kuch information disclose nahin hogi …yehi to baat hai LIC mein (There is nothing like this with LIC … I am telling you, we don’t disclose any information here … there is something about LIC).”

Has Agarwal done such cash deals in the past, our reporter seeks to know. Claims Agarwal: “Arre khoob (A lot [of such deals]).” Agarwal drops the name of some company called Karan Trade Movers in Moradabad, how its owner had invested in his mother’s name. No information is disclosed.

When our reporter insists he do it only when he has done such cash investments for other politicians, for safety is our prime concern, Agarwal reassures us with this claim: “Ek ek party chota mota amount nahin deti … pachees pachees, tees tees, paintees paintees lakh rupaye deti hai … araam se ho jaata hai (Each party give us anything between Rs. 20 lakh and Rs. 35 lakh … we do it easily).”

The meeting ends with the trio agreeing to take the deal forward at the minister’s residence and the senior manager promising to provide a small locker for immediate needs.



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