Banks are easy targets for tapping huge funds, as influential politicians care little for irregularities

By Adv Masood Peshimam*
The saying goes that there is always a crime behind every big money. Indeed, criminals care a hoot for law as they feel that they can play havoc with justice by purchasing it. They don’t fear the consequences as they know that they can be steered clear of the blame put on them as they have the potential and clout to grease the palm at the right corner. Those becoming rich overnight are least concerned with the devastating effects of their criminal acts, as the same can be neutralized with corrupt means.
Muscle power follows money power. The twin power of money and muscle draws its strength from proximity to the political class. In the given situation it’s easy to promote fortunes very fast. The story of rags to riches with an enormous speed reflects deceit, fraud and chicanery. Prominent poet late Zafar Gorakhpuri of Bollywood’s “Bazigar” fame can be quoted here:
“Kal tak jo the mere sath bhikh mangne wale,
Aaj ek raat me amir kaise ban baithe.”

(How is it that those who were begging till yesterday have become so rich to today)
It is ironical that criminals making fast buck care a hoot for the stigma attached with a scandal. They often engage in charitable activities to counter balance the scope and magnitude of crime. These charitable activities include meeting medical expenses or supporting some sort of educational cause or financially supporting the marriage of the needy and the poor. This way crooks seek to enhance their social career graph. A case in point is the financial help rendered to the poor and needy by well-known politician of UP Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhayyia, whose alleged crimes include horrendous murder of a journalist. Proximity to the Yadav clan in UP made him a minister in the erstwhile Samajwadi Government. It was the prowess and courage of Mayavati which put him behind the bars.
The new name emerging in the list of such philanthropists is that of financial czar Nirav Modi, associated with the huge scam of Punjab National Bank. He is also known for being helpful to poor and needy students. His charitable activities are a camouflage to wash out his sins; they helped in expanding his social space. In this context it is worth quoting the dialogue of late Tabish Sultanpuri in the Bollywood film “My Friend” in which the legendary music director Naushad has given music. The dialogue in Hindi with the English translation runs as follows, “With the loss of some respect, amass a vast fortune, and out of that huge fortune do some charity, and with that paltry charity, earn huge respect”. Ultimately, money reigns supreme in social mobilization.
What is no less disheartening is the fact that crass materialism has plagued our society to the extent that those with shady present and past earn a lot of respect due to their vast riches. Money is the biggest talent. How money is earned is of no consideration. Means hold no relevance whatsoever. The environment has gone so degradingly materialistic that even friends are selected on the basis of good looks, personality and financial clout. More emphasis is placed on maintaining swanky and affluent life style rather than meeting liabilities. Meanwhile, woes of victims keep mounting, as justice is not only lethargic and slow but there are different yardsticks for judging the situation and delivering justice.
In contrast to unearthing of corporate frauds, which are a tip of the iceberg, our country's middle class has proved that it is a good tax payer. The business class has its own CAs who are tasked to prepare accounts. Accounts are created with the insertion of fake bills. Fake bills are created to reduce the scope of transaction and show decline in the margin of profit. The reduced margin of profit attracts reduced tax liabilities.
Hence, in the given situation, it is the crooks and the criminals who have the field day. Banks are easy targets to tap huge funds, as influential politicians ask them to disburse funds despite irregularities. Adv Jarande of Kalyan Court in Maharashtra has strongly condemned the unfair practices indulged by some CAs to understate the margin of profit to evade the taxes which is not in national interest. Failure of our banking system was fairly evident with one of the biggest frauds that occurred in Punjab National Bank. The embezzlement is worth Rs 11,300 crore at its Mumbai branch.
The Bank lodged a complaint with CBI on January 31, 2018 naming billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi and few others, including his wife Ami Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, MD of Gitanjali Gems. Two Bank officials, Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat, have also been named. It is alleged that the billionaire diamond merchant collected huge borrowing on the basis of a fake letter of undertaking. Ironically, he along with his accomplices left India before the registration of FIR.
Abu Zaid, an advocate practicing in Mumbai Civil and Sessions Court, referring to the fleeing of Nirav Modi, believes that criminals during investigation are asked by the investigating officer not to leave the jurisdiction, whether city or village. The police keeps a tab on their activities. Zaid wonders if Nirav Modi was warned by the investigating authority not to leave the country without informing. He further suspects if the departure was facilitated.
The Punjab National Bank scam created a fresh controversy, with BJP stalwarts stating that the scam was going since the UPA days. The question arises as to what was the NDA government doing when the scam was going on under its very nose. The NDA government cannot play safe stating that it was not in the know of the situation. Question arises about the competence and credibility of the regulatory authority under NDA.
The raging political battle took a further twist with the Congress releasing a video in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is allegedly seen hosting Choksi at his official residence. What is the explanation of the accused Choksi in company of the Prime Minister?
No less ironical is the group photo of the Prime Minister featuring Nirav Modi in Davos. Without the clearance from the security agencies how could Nirav Modi feature in a photo with the Prime Minister? Security clearance cannot materialize without the nod of some higher ups.
With Nirav Modi’s reputation at stake Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra would like to disassociate as the brand ambassador of his jewelry. She should have checked the credentials before being roped in by the billionaire's business. One has only to recall that a few years back actress Tabassum, who was campaigning for Dr Munir’s medicines on TV, was criticized when he got prosecuted for alleged misinformation about his medicines.
Be that as it may, the cold reality is that the rich and the mighty with political backing appear to be larger than law, involved in some shady scandals or social or communal conflict. Therein lies the tragedy of our country.
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*Based in Kalyan, Maharashtra

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