IndusInd Bank, Case 2: M. Puri, Manager, Central Delhi

The woman banker is quite agreeable to accepting black money and would help us invest in insurance, and all things would fall in line once a policy is bought
The Cobrapost reporter is ushered into the room of the Manager M. Puri at this branch of IndusInd Bank in a famous business hub in Central Delhi. We ask to see the Branch Manager soon after we state the purpose of our visit. And our purpose is: to invest for a long term, preferably in some insurance policy that has no TDS. We are told that the Branch Manager is out, and will not be available for some time. Introductions over, we get onto the subject of term investments and money-back plans.

Taking the conversation forward, Puri tells us that often clients come to her for investing in cash. She suggests: “Aap cash mein bhi ise karwa sakte hain (You can invest in cash too).”
We learn that for a deposit of Rs. 15 lakh, the return after 20 years is Rs. 24 lakh, with 80(C) benefits and no TDS.

And how much can be deposited?
“Aap jitna marzi rakh sakte ho (You can put in as much as you wish),” Puri says.
We explain that this will be the minister’s wife investing, and the reporter and his wife (a cousin of the minister’s wife) would also be the investors, on behalf of the minister. The minister, of course, cannot be named. We tell the banker that the cash is lying at home.
She says she would wait for her branch manager and then could come over to the house to discuss, with even more lucrative plans. We go over the scheme a little more and suggest Rs. 20 lakh each for three people.

We say we will introduce her and her boss to the minister and avoid questions about the identity of the minister.

Calculations show that the rate of interest of the plan being shown is a little over 7.5 per cent. In an FD, after TDS, it would generally come down to around 7 per cent. Plus it will show on the books of accounts.

She understands: “Ismein aapka kahin aap chahte ho … ye books mein aapke mention hoga (Maybe you want … this will find mention in your books).” She says all money can be paid in cash.

Should we open accounts to put money into this scheme, the reporter asks.
“Aap account nahin bhi khulwana chahte toh as you wish (If you do not want to open accounts, then it will be as you wish),” Puri says.

How do the money-back payments and the last payment come to us? We enquire.
She explains: “Aap jo bhi account batayenge wahan aa jayega … pay order bolenge … mil jayega (It will come to any account you want … if you want a pay order instead, that will also be arranged).” All ‘white’ money.

We ask her if she has suggested this policy to anybody before.
“Yes, sir,” comes the prompt reply.
In cash, we prod?
Puri assures: “Cash mein hi karte hain sir (We do it in cash only Sir).” She insists that she is in the know of things and has been with the branch for over two years.
We put it as bluntly as we can: We need to launder black money into white.
She confirms with nonchalance: “Haan … ho jayega (Yes … it will be done).”
We launch into the second part, where we need lockers in February for a lot of incoming cash. Cash in lockers does not perturb her, but availability is a problem: “Locker humara waiting chal raha hai (There is a waiting list for lockers at the moment).”

The minister is expecting Rs. 5–7 crore in February, we inform her, and we need a locker big enough to safe keep all our cash.

Help would come with a rider: “Aap ki Sir jab ye policy jab start ho jayegi … main BM se baat kar loongi … wo kisi na kisi branch se on the spot hi kara denge aapka (Sir, when your policy will start … I will talk to the BM [branch manager] … he will get for you on the spot in any of our branches).”

How big are your lockers, we ask Puri.
“Mid-size ke (Of mid-size),” she answers.
We ask her if Rs. 5–7 crore in bills of 500 would fit in.
Puri assures: “Haan … aa jayenge … aapko vault dekhni hai toh aap dekh sakte hain … file size hai (Yes … all [the crores] will fit in … if you want you can see the vault … they are file-sized).”
So we ask her to provide us with two lockers, in response to which, she says: “Haan … wo aap le sakte hain … jaise aapki policy hogi na Sir … woh aap parallel hi bol dena (Yes, you can take two … as your policy is done … you can ask for it parallel).”

We move to the issue of the minister’s wife going to England and wanting to send some of the cash out of the country, to some friends. Would it be possible?
Suggests Puri: “Uske liye NRI/NRO account hona chahiye … Delhi pe khulega … NRI/NRO account hona chahiye (For that you will have to open an NRI/NRO account … it will be opened in Delhi … NRI/NRO account is a must).”

We further ask her if the money would go through the suggested way.
Puri assures: “Haan … haan … bilkul Sir … NRI/NRO account mein chala jayega … humara forex department yahin hai (Yes, surely Sir, it will go through an NRI/NRO account … we have our forex department here).”

Our reporter is taken to see the vault and the lockers. We notice that the lockers are actually small. We say goodbyes and leave.

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