Posing I-T officials a gang looted a doctor and also used fake letters to get police protection during the raid. Now the I-T department want to nab the master-mind of the gang, believed to be an insider
This is not a story directly lifted or inspired (as they call it in Bollywood) from a movie, but is a real life incidence. A gang of six people—claiming to be income tax (I-T) officers—raided a house of a doctor with the help from local police, seized Rs11.1 lakh and also demanded a bribe to close the case. Only things, the ID cards and letters used by the gang were all fake. This has prompted the Sahranpur Joint Commissioner of I-T to issue a note to all offices requesting their help in nabbing the master-mind of this gang.
According to the release, on 18 April 2012, this gang of six people led by VD Goyal raided the house of Dr Mohan Pandey in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The gang claimed that they were from Office of the CII, Lucknow and also submitted a letter (which turned out to be fake as their ID cards) issued by the Commissioner of Income Tax, Zone-2, Lucknow to the SSP, Saharanpur and got allotted police force for the raid.
Mr Goyal, who may be an ex-employee of the I-T department, appeared to be well-versed with the procedures and laws related with search and raids. He and his gang took away Rs11.1 lakh from Dr Pandey and also demanded a bribe to close the case.
Meanwhile, after receiving an anonymous call regarding the fake raid, Dr Pandey filed a first information report (FIR) with the police, who then arrested two members of the gang and also the driver of the doctor. However, there is no trace of either Mr Goyal or other members of his gang.
Requesting all I-T offices to circulate the photograph and information about the master-mind of the gang, the joint commissioner has said that it believes that this so-called VD Goyal, directly or indirectly belongs to the I-T department as he was well-versed with the procedures and law of search. “He may be a terminated or suspended employee of this department. To save the respect of our department, it is requested that if any officer/official know about identity/name of this fraud man it may be immediately conveyed to Income Tax Office, Saharanpur,” the joint commissioner said in the release.
The issue of fake currency notes coming out of ATMs is very real. What can be done? Here are some suggestions
Most ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) in India simply dispense cash, but increasingly are being readied for a host of other functions and capabilities, so the risk increases. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the ATM machines should:
Is this objective met? Not really.
There are two broad ways in which currency notes are stuffed into ATMs in India. One, by the bank staff themselves, usually for the 'onsite' machines. Two, by specific agencies which do the stuffing- often as common carriers for multiple banks. I have worked in many aspects of the ATM industry and my sources tell me:
1) None of the banks in India, currency chests or agencies have facilities for 100% verification at all stages of currency notes headed for ATMs-except for some very specific marked ATMs which are located in VVIP locations. Yes, this is being corrected, but the speed of growth of ATMs is also high.
2) The chances of genuine cash sent by the banks directly from the cash chest/teller being swapped for counterfeit notes is not so high for onsite ATMs. However, it does exist as a higher risk for off-site ATMs, as well as for ATMs stuffed by agencies. The arrival of 'white' ATMs will further muddy the waters.
3) The global concept and practice of sending only pre-stuffed and sealed 'cassettes' for insertion into the larger 'cartridges' for the dispensers and then to be placed inside the 'vault' of ATMs is being resisted by banks and agencies in India. These pre-sealed 'cassettes' provide physical security by 'neutralising' currency notes in case of physical attacks and also provide note-by-note accountability in case of transactional lacunae.
What would we, as consumers of currency notes, really want and deserve? After all, the issue of FICN/counterfeit currency notes is very real, and at the very least, some steps have to be taken to protect us, assuming that almost all ATM transactions are for consumers who not in the fake money business. Here are some simple steps which need to be taken, and which we should demand:
1) All ATMs in India need to be provided with a centralised RBI reference number, and this must be displayed prominently at the location, as well as on the ATM and also on the paper trail.
2) All ATMs must indicate whether they are "sealed cassette stuffed" or "loose stuffed".
3) Performance of ATMs-failed transactions, disputed transactions, down-times, frequency of FICN and similar data must be available online.
4) ATMs can then be provided either 'star' rating or percentile performance rating, which needs to also be displayed on the ATM.
5) Most importantly, the ATM must indicate whether it is providing 100% authentic currency notes or not, and by what method.
6) Certain other safeguards, like silent alarm provision as well as provision of a 'cover' on the key-pad, need to be incorporated too.
7) Disabled access is another issue which needs to be resolved.
There are more too, but these are the least we can expect. After all, we are customers worth Rs4 lakh a day-a fairly heavy turnover under any circumstances for 9 square metres of real estate.
A bank is not doing a customer a big favour by providing an ATM; it is actually doing itself a favour primarily by reducing the cost and effort of human interaction. In exchange, a customer must know what level of service to expect, and RBI needs to enforce this. Today's customer is very aware of what is going on and is willing to pay a premium for better and more reliable service. The earlier this is done, and certainly before the introduction of "white ATMs", the better.
(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love-writing.)
Under the agreement atom technologies would facilitate online payments to about 10 lakh customers of Reliance Securities using Visa Debit card
Financial Technologies Ltd-promoted atom technologies has partnered with Visa and Reliance Securities to offer online money transfers for broking accounts using Visa debit card.
Dewang Neralla, director and chief executive of atom technologies, said, "This is another path-breaking innovation in payments. I am sure acceptance of Debit cards will enable brokers to tap India's vast Debit card subscriber base and investors from the recesses of India for partaking in financial market activities, thus paving way for financial inclusion."
This service is the first-of-its kind in India as customers can now just log on to the website of Reliance Securities and click on the 'pay through Visa Debit card option' to make online payments to their broking account. This service requires the trader to register his Visa Debit card once on the Reliance Securities website, enabling him to make secure payments using his Visa Debit card in real time, atom technologies said in a release.
"Indian consumers value and have come to expect a versatile and universal method for making and receiving payments through their cards. From today millions of investors can pay for their stock and commodity investments with the same convenience, security and reliability that they experience when they use Visa anywhere else," said Uttam Nayak, group country manager for India and South Asia at Visa.