Guess what? In our long history of scams, yet another one has been unearthed! Now I know, this has been in the news for the last couple weeks and everyone must be pretty up to date with the goings on. But then, this is not about the 11,000 odd crores siphoned off, or about one Mr Modi vamoosing away to a safer place. This is about the ease with which our banks have been tricked into being cheated by some extremely rich and influential folk. This looks even easier than tricking a foreigner into buying some fake exotic jadibooti from a roadside stall.
As children, we were always told stories about some thief who used to steal from a palace and hide the loot in a hidden cave.
And one fine day, prince charming would come, rescue some maiden in distress, defeat or capture the thief, and win the day (eventually keeping all the loot for himself). Indian scamsters have kind of perfected this formula. When someone in an emotional family function mentions something like, ‘We are so open hearted, we only give give give!’, I am reminded of all our expert con artists who have taken taken taken and run away to another country where they are leading a pretty comfy life, cigars, et al.
Our banks have been so strict with us, the commoners, the dumb folk, the vast majority of us who wouldn’t dare to even count all the zeroes in the figures that are siphoned off by scam-walas, that we are kind of in the habit of keeping our fingers crossed whenever we visit our bank branches. We hope we get our work done and the person at the counter is having a good day. You see, the mood of the banker is the first hurdle to cross. We pray, we pray really hard, that the cashier hasn’t had a tiff with his or her spouse, or that the manager better have figured out how to log in to his facebook finally. God forbid, if you do find them in a foul mood...you are done for. ‘System is down’, ‘Come tomorrow’, ‘Come next year’, ‘Come in your next birth’... We are so used to waiting in long queues, we won’t even mind standing for that extra 30 minutes, so that our dear bankers are done catching up with discussions about last night’s saas bahu serials, or even about the amount of ginger the new chaiwala puts in the daily chai. And I won’t even start with the Aadhar linking nonsense.
If we have it so tough, how is it that some get away with literal murder...of people’s money? We have heard the phrase, ‘Laughing all the way to the bank’, but nowadays, it goes, ‘Laughing all the way from the bank’. Don’t all those stringent rules apply to these folks? What about your KYCs? I remember the amount of paperwork and the closely researched documents the bank had me go through and sign and read and chew on, till I finally was issued a loan some years ago. But I guess, it’s just like some places (including religious ones) which offer VIP entry if you pay a certain amount of money, and voila! no lines, no chaos, no drama. You are in and out! I think it works the same if you are a seasoned scamster. All you need is ambition....and a whole lot of friends in the system!
As for us commoners, we’d still be in that line, with our KYC documents, getting the banks help Know their customers better. I think KYC now better stand for KNEW YOU’D CHEAT.
(The writer is a comic creator, illustrator and animator)