Sucheta Dalal :Believe it or not
Sucheta Dalal

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Believe it or not  

March 17, 2010

 A friend of mine, who is in the business of ‘collecting’ overdue personal loans, has his offices at several locations. He uses it to advantage. For instance, if a defaulter at Mumbai cannot be traced, he passes it on to his other offices, to try and see if something matches. Once, his Ahmednagar (a city near Pune) branch got a list from Mumbai about a large loan outstanding from a gentleman, whom we shall call “Gupta”. Something about the details in the file rang a bell. He knew a Gupta, who was branch manager of a private bank in Ahmednagar. After matching more details and the photograph, it was confirmed that it was indeed the same person.

A fascinating story emerged.

Gupta had submitted a fake resume about his qualifications and experience and got a job as an officer with a private bank, at Panjim, Goa. At Goa, he used his position and salary slip to considerable advantage, borrowing money from other private banks and finance companies. After a year or so, he just upped it and went to Mumbai. There he fudged his resume yet again, landed a job with a foreign bank and went through the same process. After a year, he could no longer face the heat of the overdues at Mumbai and decided to leave for greener pastures. He landed at Pune where he conned yet another private bank with his prize-winning resume. At Pune, he spent a good year, raising a lot of personal loans. Needless to mention, he enjoyed all good things in life and the liberal lenders kept his lifestyle going.

Soon, he decided to leave Pune. He now went to Ahmednagar and joined another private bank, using the same method. He was in his third month at Ahmednagar, when my friend’s network caught up with him. The remarkable thing is that he got the job at Ahmednagar, with the same bank that he quit at Panjim!

This story is interesting. Banks, in prosperous times, are short of people with experience. So much that they do not bother to verify the antecedents. And another remarkable feature was that Mr Gupta used the same name and his PAN number etc in this merry-go-round! All he did was to fabricate a new experience background each time! It was sheer chance that he got caught!

His former employers are too embarrassed to pursue him. He has no money left with him and the loans are beyond recovery. The banks have hopefully learnt a lesson. All they need is for the HR department to keep a database on employees who leave (or are sacked) and cross check. Surely, when a borrower applies, they check with some database. In fact, I always felt that every HR department should not only have this data handy, but also a name/PAN number kind of database of people who apply for jobs and are not employed.

(Gupta is a name of convenience. No offence meant to any Gupta. City names have been changed. Fact or fiction... I leave it to the reader and to the many private banks who rush in to fill vacancies).— R Balakrishnan


-- Sucheta Dalal