Life on loan

Jaspal Bhatti

IMAGINE a businessman going to the ICICI or the HDFC Bank to ask for a "kidnapping ransom loan". On being questioned by the officer concerned on the need for the loan, he would say, "Sir, my son has been kidnapped. I want the loan to pay the ransom amount of Rs 1 crore". The officer will politely decline, "Sorry sir, we donít have such schemes of loan".

With the law and order situation showing no sign of improvement and with a kidnapping news every other day, banks might soon come up with ransom paying schemes. One is then likely to come across an advertisement like "Pay your ransom through credit card."

Recently, a Mumbai stockbroker paid a ransom of Rs 3 crore to his sonís kidnappers. The police recovered the money but now the Income Tax Department says that the money should be handed over to it since it was unaccountable money.

The point is that when a person is in crisis and his loved one is facing a deadline to be eliminated, how will he arrange huge sums of white money to pay off the ransom? Do you think he would ask the gangsters, "Sir, aap DD ley leyenge?" Or probably the victim will apply to the government seeking for special permission to collect black money from his well-wishers to make the payment.

This is a genuine problem. If the government cannot keep a check on the increasing abductions and kidnappings, they should at least give heavy tax concessions on the ransom money.

A gangster in the court asked the income tax officer that he should also be rewarded as it was only due to his kidnapping effort that the black money had been unearthed.