Allure of black money

Source : Google photo of black money found in raids on corrupt people in India

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Synopsis: Corruption is a global phenomenon that is destroying many economies. Some people steal public money to get rich but pay no consequence because of their political connections so their countries suffer. Many governments have tried and failed to curb corruption because it has become a part of their system that allows corruption to flourish. Now new methods are being adopted to punish the corrupt people so that they pay a high price for their sins.

Money illegally earned by the criminals is called the black money on which they pay no tax but use it to buy land, property like buildings, gold, silver and expensive cars. They build huge mansions on illegally acquired land and keep buying more land and properties in different cities or villages. They cannot keep their loot in the banks so they keep it in their houses where they hide it in the ceilings or behind fake walls where it accumulates into staggering proportions.

Criminals are experts in finding new and often ingenious ways to make money but mostly it comes from their illegal business of extortion, kidnap for ransom, illegal business of drugs and alcohol, prostitution and casinos where the games are rigged in their favor. Their source of income can be as diverse as their imagination but they also hire smart people who look for new ways to make money and launder it through off shore accounts. Their method of threats, violence and intimidation usually works but they also assure their impunity by buying off the policemen and the judges.

In Italy I was told that more than 60% of the economy is black that is unregistered. They pay no tax on it so you can imagine the loss of revenue the state suffers that could be used to develop the country. In India too there is a huge black economy because people are corrupt.

Even the most common people who have government or private jobs do not like to pay taxes when they can and feel no shame in it. If you go to a shop that sells gold jewelries and precious stones like diamonds, the shop owner will ask you if you want a receipt. The official receipt adds another 10% to the cost of what you buy which can be substantial if you are buying gold jewelries so most people do not want a receipt. This deprives the government of millions of Rupees worth of revenue. The shop owner pays a minimum tax based on a few receipts that some honest buyers ask for so the corrupt system works in his favor.

The hunger for gold in India has given rise to a massive underground illegal business of gold smuggling that supplies the demand. The gold is smuggled into India from the Middle Eastern countries by dhows at night that unload on beaches somewhere at a predetermined place. The bandits quickly unload, pocket the money and depart to fool the Coast Guards who cannot keep an eye on thousands of kilometers of coast line. It is also smuggled through Nepal or from other neighboring countries through couriers or mules who get caught every now and then. The criminals also smuggle dangerous drugs like heroin and opium from Afghanistan.

A dhow is a slow moving wooden boat built in the Middle Eastern countries as a fishing boat but not restricted to just fishing. There are thousands of such boats in the ocean so it is very difficult to check each one of them to see what they carry but some do get caught every now and then because the Coast guards now have fast motorboats that can outrun slow vessels. These bandits are usually heavily armed so they often put up a fight if they are hiding something illegal like gold or drugs.

But today I want to write about the so called officials who are educated and work as senior government officers carrying on important duties and are found in all branches of the government throughout the country. Some work as customs officers, others work as transport officers while others work as officers who control the contract or the permit process for massive infrastructure development everywhere costing billions of Rupees.

Recently a magistrate who was driving on a national highway noticed a long line of trucks at a check point so he stopped to know the reason for the stoppage and found a man dressed as a policeman extorting money from each driver before he let him pass.

The Magistrate introduced himself and asked to see the police badge of the man who did not have a name plate on his uniform. When the magistrate asked him why he was extorting the truck drivers, he answered that the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) demands it and gets most of the money every day. He gives him a small amount for his effort. It is a well known fact that many RTOs are corrupt and accumulate massive wealth through extortion.

The magistrate then asked the name of this RTO and his address and wrote down the fake policeman’s name as well to file a case of extortion against him. The magistrate called the police to arrest this man and asked him to pay back all the money he had collected to the remaining truck drivers. He told the drivers that there is now a corruption report hotline number they can call if they are extorted this way anywhere so that a mobile team can arrive and arrest the criminals.

He then ordered a raid to the villa of the RTO who had no knowledge of what was going to happen to him because his fake policeman was already in custody from where he could not warn his boss.

In India the raid is conducted by the Enforcement Directorate called ED when they are tipped off that a criminal is suspected of keeping massive amount of black money in his house. So they descended on the fellow all of a sudden, sealed the house so that no one could escape and started to search.

What they found was beyond their wildest imagination. There were bundles of money stacked four feet deep that took 6 counting machines several days to count while the RTO kept mum and refused to answer any questions. He was arrested and taken away for questioning while the raiding team continued searching. They found money hidden in ceilings, behind walls and huge amount of gold jewelries hidden in huge bins of rice and wheat. It was a staggering sum of millions of Rupees that the man had accumulated and kept in the house and this amount kept on growing.

He had been at it for many years so he acquired properties, hotels, shops, farm houses etc. in various cities and rural areas throughout the State. They found many incriminating documents that showed the extent of his properties in the name of his servants and even the drivers he employed.

His money was confiscated by the government and all his properties seized to be auctioned off. His luxury vehicles were taken away to be sold off and the man was taken away for years of incarceration in a notorious jail somewhere. All this happened because an honest magistrate stopped to inquire why there was a long line of trucks waiting at a check point.

Watch this video on the illegal stash of money found in the RTO residence where 150 crores of Rupees were found. (150crore of Rupees amounts to 19.480519 million US dollars.)

Source : U tube video https://youtu.be/lEjvJ3Ieuas

Now another case was reported just yesterday where a senior government officer who was an IAS officer and who handled very important duties in the State of Jharkhand in India  was arrested by the ED when they got a tip that this woman was hiding black money in her house. Again the sum discovered was staggering and amounted to Millions of Rupees that were carted away to the government treasury and the woman arrested. She could not answer how she had accumulated so much money when her salary was known. Her husband also found to own a 14 story luxury hospital he has illegally built on a land of someone who was not paid for it.

So together this couple was running an illegal business and accumulating wealth of staggering proportion that they kept in their house. Such people are drunk with the power of their position so they are very arrogant and treat their servants badly so often they call the police to inform that the owner is keeping huge amount of money there. The servants notice everything including the hidden places.

The people who pass the tough IAS (Indian Administrative Service) exams are chosen for the top government jobs with high salary, government furnished villas, gardeners, servants and driver for their official cars and many other perks. They are selected for their intelligence and are given the oath to serve the country loyally and honestly to serve the people to the best of their ability but some of them turn rogue as was the case I just mentioned.

She took advantage of her position as the administrator of the mining sector in the State to accumulate enormous amount of money from corruption. Jharkhand is a mineral rich state of India. Her husband could not answer how he got the money to build a 14 story luxury hospital and how his one room pathological testing center turned into a huge hospital so quickly. His hospital was raided and many incriminating documents were found that will help prosecute the couple who now face years of jail time ,bad food and hungry bed bugs for added measures. No punishment is severe enough if you ask me.

The ED did not stop there. They also raided the house of their accountant and found huge quantity of cash stashed there as well that the fellow could not account for. This man was helping launder the money but got caught. He had four luxury cars that the government confiscated and hauled the fellow to jail.

Now watch this video on the corrupt female officer in Jharkhand, Bihar

Source : U tube video

We hear of such raids almost daily in India that has netted the government huge amount of money but there are many more such corrupt people who are still outside the dragnet but their time is limited. Sooner or later a disgruntled maid or a badly treated servant calls the police. Almost everyone carries cell phones these days that have evolved into smart phones with high resolution camera and can record photos or videos.

Such cameras are now a very valuable tool in the hand of the police that can record everything they see and transmit it wirelessly to any government office instantly or the court that prosecutes the criminals.

The question we should ask here is -Why a well-paid government officer who has a high position and is given all the perks that you and I cannot even imagine falls so low and becomes so corrupt ? Why they are so tempted by the easy money they have to hide in their house and ceilings and think that they will never be caught someday and sent to jail? They should know that the fight to end corruption continues so many corrupt people will go to jail and their properties will be seized.

These are called the white collar criminals who take bribe or commission from government contracts when they are in charge of massive infrastructure projects nationwide. India spends billions of Rupees on such projects each year but how much of it is siphoned off by the corrupt officers? India spends a staggering sum of money for its defense modernization but what part of this money disappears in the pockets of greedy people?

Some officers are known to take huge amount of money from a job applicant as bribe so that the fellow gets a job. Multiply that by the thousands of job applicants and you will understand the degree of corruption and the amount of money some people make as bribe.

This person once employed then becomes corrupt so that he can recover the bribe money he had to pay and then some. There is no end to greed in human beings. ( Read my blog here called A monster called corruption )

India is listed as one of the most corrupt countries in the world but corruption is found in almost all the countries in various degrees that sap the world economy and enrich just a few people enormously. So India is fighting corruption by using on line payment for those who work for the government and by making accounting of public funds more transparent. Income tax people and the ED routinely raid the premises of corrupt people to confiscate millions of illegal Rupees.

The politicians often caught with illegal stash of money are brought to the courts only to get bail and a light reprimand so they go on doing business as usual.

So now a Chief Minister of the most populous state in India has sent the bulldozers to destroy their illegal houses, malls and other properties. ( read my blog here called Criminals beware).

The corruption will be reduced only when people refuse to pay bribe and report the corrupt people by taking their videos and report to the authorities using hot lines. The honest officers will respond quickly.

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