cobrapost |
April 27, 2013


Yes Bank, Case 1, A. Pal, Financial Advisor/Senior Manager, Gurgaon, Haryana

Although the banker knows ways of laundering money, he would help us only to the extent he can. Keep invested for six years, he would suggest, claiming: “White karne ka sabse safest method hai aur sabse close method hai (This is the safest method to convert black into white and this is the closest method)”

The Cobrapost journalist walks up to the front desk of this branch of Yes Bank in Gurgaon, Haryana and announces his purpose: He has to invest Rs. 80 lakh in some long-term investment schemes of the bank. There should be not TDS and returns should be guaranteed. More money, about Rs. 5–7 crore, is expected in March first week. Could he discuss the proposal with some senior official of the bank?

The receptionist quietly picks up the phone to ask some senior banker to attend the visitor. A couple of minutes later, Senior Manager A. Pal appears and he politely takes our reporter to a separate cabin. Here, the reporter reiterates the proposal. Rs. 80 lakh has to be invested in some long-term plan in three names: Himself, his wife and a minister’s wife. There should be guaranteed returns with no TDS, as we don’t want to show it in our books. The investment is to be made in cash.

When Pal hears the entire amount is in cash, he asks: “Cash mein karna hai? Cash se daalna hai? Acha … assi lakh rupaye karib (Want to do in cash … want to put it in cash … Ok … around Rs. 80 lakh).”

Now, tell us if you would put the money directly into the investment or you would route the money through an account? The reporter puts the ball in his court.

The banker dons a thinking cap and after some moments says: “Sir ek banda aur chahiye (Sir, I need another person).”

Our reporter promptly recommends the name of one Ajay, a trustworthy fellow.

The banker says he would be able to accept cash only to the extent of Rs. 19,99000, and then goes on to suggest a one-time investment plan of Bajaj Allianz which will fetch us a 6–6.5 per cent tax-free return per annum, after a period of 10 years.

He says: “Ye tax-free return hoga … ismein Income Tax wale bhi nahin poochenge (It will be a tax-free return … Income Tax people will not ask you anything).”

After educating us on the product, Pal goes on to tell us how we would escape the tax hawks: “Ab IRDA kya kehti hai … agar aapne koi paisa insurance mein lagaya hai … usko che saal baad agar aap nikaalte ho… toh aapse income tax department ye bhi nahin poochega ki paisa kahan se aaya … usmein koi tax liability nahin banti hai

(Now, what does IRDA say? If you have invested in insurance and if you withdraw it after 6 years … the Income Tax department is not supposed to ask you from where did the money come … then there is no tax liability).”

You mean, all our money would be converted into white, interrupts our reporter to ask.

Pal is equally quick to reply: “Saara white ho jayega aapka paisa (All your money would become white).”

What more does the minister needs, says our reporter. Why don’t you explain it all to our minister?

Agreeing to the suggestion, Pal also informs that he can’t accept more than Rs. 20 lakh per individual including both premium and life cover.

We won’t invest more than Rs. 18 lakh, says our reporter, to be on the safer side.

Pal is eager to know: “Bataiye Sir ye mantriji kaun hain ye toh bataiye mere ko (Sir tell me who the minister is)?”

Why worry when you can meet him in the evening, our reporter is quick to parry the probing question. He doesn’t want to disclose his name. That is why we are investing his money in our names and his wife’s name, instead. Otherwise, he would have walked into your bank with all his retinue of gunners for the world to see.

Pal brushes our concern saying he knows many ministers.

Then, you must be having many politicos among your clients, the reporter digs further.

Nodding in agreement, Pal says he hails from Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, and says again: “Tabhi main jaanana chah raha tha kuan hain mantri (That is why I wanted to know who the minister is).”

Our reporter smartly parries the question again saying, in a low, conspiratorial tone, this is a high-profile matter and funds are really big. What we have proposed is only a minuscule sum. We intend to invest Rs. 40–50 crore.

This prods Pal to open up further and drops the name of an erstwhile BSP leader, a cousin of his, from Jaunpur. He says in the moment of bonhomie that is now in the air: “Isilye main bata raha tha … main ye sub thode hisaab jaanta hoon main (That is why I was telling you … I have some idea of such things).”

You must be sure dealing with clients like us, asks the reporter; in other words, clients with loads of cash to invest.

Pal nods to say: “Humm.” He then tells that he looks after NRI banking.

The reporter asks the banker to save his number on his mobile, to stay in touch as we both would need each other. What a pleasant coincidence to have met you, exclaims our reporter.

Then he asks Pal when he would get the slip after he deposits the money with them.

Immediately, says Pal enthusiastically: “Haathon haath … cash jab aap jama karane aaoge… kisi bank mein hi daalna padega … turant slip lena… aur jab sub kuch taiyyar ho jayega tab main bataoonga aapko tab aap chaloge…. main chaloonga aapke sang aur ek aur banda chalega jo Bajaj Allianz ka hoga(Then and there … when you will come to deposit the cash … you will have to put it in some bank only … take the slip immediately … and when everything is ready, I will tell you to move … I will go with you taking along an official from Bajaj Allianz).”

Thus, Pal assures us that he would personally supervise all the proceedings from cash deposit to investment into the insurance scheme.

Do it employing the safest method, implores our reporter, which you have used it in the past for other customers.

Pal assures: “Haan … method main wohi rakhoonga (Yes … I will keep the same method).”

Pal has more warnings for the reporter if he wishes to keep the money safe. Pal says: “Lekin yeh yaad rakhna ki che saal se kam ka mat rakhiyega … aap isko nikalne ko ek saal baad bhi nikaal sakte ho … doh saal baad bhi nikaal sakte ho …. teen saal baad bhi nikaal sakte ho … paisa aapko DD mein hi milega(But remember you have to remain invested at least for six years … if you wish you can withdraw the money even after one year … you can withdraw the money even after two years … you can withdraw the money even after three years … you will get the money back in the form of DD only).”

Do you mean we will get our money in white, the reporter interjects to ask.

Pal says in affirmative: “Paisa white hoke milega (You will get the money back in white).”

But there will certain charges to pay if we withdraw the money before the tenure. That is why we should withdraw only after 10 years to get good returns.

Suppose, we invest Rs. 1 crore, says the reporter. How much we would get.

About Rs. 1.60 crore, replies Pal, after 10 years.

Would all that be white, asks the reporter.

Yes, says Pal: “Poora white hoke ayega(You will get it all in white).”

The reporter then invites the banker for a meeting with the minister in the evening to take his nod. Giving a recap of all what he has already told him, with year-wise break-up, he asks him to educate our minister accordingly.

Promptly agreeing, Pal reiterates to remain invested for at least six years to keep away the taxman: “Che saal wali bhi cheez yaad rakhna … agar che saal baad nikaloge to Income Tax bhi nahin poochti hai paisa kahan se aaya (Also remember the six-year thing … if you withdraw after six years the Income Tax Department will never ask from where did the money come).”

The reporter then asks Pal to open three accounts with his bank and allot a big locker to keep the cash of Rs. 8–10 crore, in bills of 500, expected in March first week.

Pal is of little help as lockers are not available with any branch of his bank. But the bank has got the permission to provide this facility and when they are available he would certainly put a big one at our disposal. He assures us: “Uski chinta mat karo … aayega aapko de doonga bada locker … usmein koi issue nahin (Don’t worry about that … when they arrive I will get you a big locker … there is no issue).”

Not only that, Pal also agrees to provide us a machine to count our crores.

The reporter again asks Pal to join him in the evening and take the deal forward in the presence of the minister over a cup of tea. He then asks if Pal could suggest any way other than already discussed to convert big money into white.

Pal says: “White karne ka sabse safest method hai aur sabse close method hai (This is the safest method to convert black into white and this is the closest method).”

Our reporter asks if he has sold such policy to any politician or other customers in the past. Did they face any problem?

Avers Pal: “Ismein koi problem nahin (There is no problem with it).”

But have you sold this policy to any politician, our reporter asks again.

Replies Pal: “Politicians ko nahin diya lekin bahut bade bade logon ko diya hai (I haven’t sold it to politicians but I have given it to many big shots).” To reassure us further, Pal informs us the main policy-holder is Yes Bank and the insured would be the sub-policy holder and hence it is safe.

Our reporter again asks for the names of some of his old clients, but Pal refuses to divulge: “Client hain … naam nahin bataoonga (There are clients but I will not tell you the names).”

Now, we are sure you will not disclose our names, says the reporter appreciating his approach of keeping the identity of his investors secret.

The discussion between the two then moves on to how banks are bought, as our reporter even goes on to suggest that he would ask the minister to start his own bank or by one to make money laundering all the more easy. He then asks Pal to talk to his superiors to help us launder more big funds.

Nodding his head in agreement, Pal suggests: “Unse bolo school wooschool khole … sabse zyada paisa… sabse zyada white ka paisa hai usmein … bata doon abhi main (Ask him to open school … there is biggest money to make there … I tell you there is biggest white money to make).”

Before taking his leave, our reporter tells him that the minister’s wife often goes to England. She wants to send some money there out of Rs. 5–7 crore we are expecting, around Rs. 40–50 lakh a couple of times. Is that possible?

Pal replies: “Bhejna hai… chala jayega… challis–pachas lakh hi bhejna hai na? Koi CA hai aapke paas (You want to send?Will be sent … you want to send Rs. 40–50 lakh? Do you have any CA)?”

The reporter tells him that the CA is of little help. That is why we have approached you. Can you send it through some trustworthy person?

Thinking for a while, Pal explains: “Dekho jab account se paisa bahar jaata hai na… doh tarike hote hain paisa bahar jaane ka… ya toh aap apne tarike se bhejo… yahan kisi ko diya wahan kisi ne wahan deliver kar diya … wo tarika aap jaante hi ho (Look, when you send money abroad through your account … there are two methods of sending money abroad … you send it using your own method … you give it here and someone else would deliver it there … you know that method very well).”

But for that we would need a dependable fellow interjects our reporter. It should be safe.

Avers Pal: “Exactly wohi toh bol raha hoon … toh doosra tarika hai bank ke through bhejo … toh bank ke through bhejne ke liye CA ka certificate chahiye hota hai isliye pooch raha tha … dekho bank ke through aap saal mein ek crore rupaye tak (Exactly, I am telling you that … or the other method is you send it though the bank … you need a certificate from a CA to send it through bank … that is why I was asking you that … see, you can send up to Rs. 1 crore a year through bank).” Pal knows it well what we mean.

No, problem we would send Rs. 40 lakh in two installments, chips in our reporter, to dig in further.

Pal suggests a way out: “As a maintenance bhej sakte ho (You can send it as a maintenance).”
To probe further, if he could come out with a way out we are looking for, our reporter straightaway asks him whether he knew some trustworthy person who could send our money abroad through hawala.
Pal refuses to help: “Hawala wala kaam main nahin kar paoonga (I will not be able to do the hawala job).”
Then you could at least send it through account, says our reporter.
Concurs Pal: “Account wala raasta bata sakta hoon (I can tell you the ways of doing through account).”
But with least documentation, implores the reporter, and it should be safe.
Replies Pal: “Documents nahin lekin CA ka declaration chahiye hota hai (No documents, but you need a declaration from the CA).”
What about sending it through some “other account,” asks our reporter.
Pal is quick on getting what we are referring to: “Dummy accounts se toh nahin hoga … lekin usmein bahut cheezein dekhni padti hain (It won’t possible to do through dummy accounts … but we have to see many things there in it).”
Our banker knows many things but we are not sure if he is into them. So, we finally ask him to explore it for us if we could send abroad our crores through some trustworthy person. Rs. 40–50 lakh doesn’t matter for us, we can spend as much if it can help us.

The meeting ends with the reporter telling Pal he would call him back after fixing the meeting with the minister in the evening.

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