Dial ‘M’ for Money

November 16th, 2009

Television channels and newspaper reports claim that Madhu Koda (former chief minister of Jharkhand) has embezzled Rs 4,000 crore. Recent reports point out that transactions worth Rs 650 crore, a small portion of the money, took place in the Union Bank of India.

I am always bewildered by these numbers. How does one carry this amount to a bank or give it to someone? Even if they are all Rs 1,000 notes, that means 65,000 bundles – one would need at least a van or a tempo (small-sized truck) to carry it. Sure, it could have been done in tranches, but still.

So where did this cash come from? Better still, do people really keep Rs 1,000 crore in their houses or say in ‘godams’ (in hindi movies, especially in villages the zamindar has godams where he hoards all the food grains)?

And when needed he hires a tempo, loads all this cash, gives it to a politician or crook, who in turn, carries it to a bank (in the same or another tempo) and deposits it.

How long does it take the bank teller or the note counting machine to count it? To count even Rs 50-60 crores, it should take at least a few hours, as a single bundle is only Rs 1 lakh.

In smaller cities, branches may have to be closed because of the size of transaction.

Forgive my lack of experience. Being a middle-class person, the only time I have seen suitcases of cash is in the movies.

But it would be rather interesting to know how people hoard cash, carry it around, protect it from rodents (besides the law, of course) – what if one bundle is eaten by a rat (Imagine this sentence: Money hoarder: “chuha mere godam mein ek crore kha gaya or chuhon ne note kutar diye”)

And what happens to this money, once it has been captured. Ok, some part of it would go as awards to policemen or CBI officials. What happens to the rest? – Is black money a state subject or centre?

Questions, questions, questions… And I have no answers.

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