Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

As many of you may know, recently I had desperate need for a notary as I had to get an affidavit (and no, it wasn’t a name change) verified.

So I sent a flunky (basically the security guard at my building looking to earn an extra buck at the expense of his current job) to Andheri Station east to get a stamp paper of Rs 10 denomination from one of those little stalls that specialise in preparing legal documents. He gives me call from there and says it’s not available. “What do you mean it’s not available?” “The government has become so vigilant since the Telgi scam that blank stamp papers can only be bought from the court of something like that,” he says.

How ridiculous is that? What does the government think? I’m going to open a fake stamp paper racket from the cosy confines of my home? Besides, the scam involved creating fake stamp papers, an activity that typically takes place before buying one. What can I possibly do after I purchase one except type on it?

Of course, it’s perfectly legal to purchase one from the little stalls but then they lose out on the typing and printing charges, don’t they? So they’ve collectively figured out that the way to go is you can purchase a stamp paper, but only if you get the matter typed by us. Extortion? Ah no. If you must call it something, call it an acceptable form of enterprise, an oligarchy if you will.

But I didn’t know that. Then.

Anyone, I was left with no choice but to take a trip down to Bandra, to the small matters (or is it affairs?) court. As soon I arrived, a black-jacketed lawyer swooped down on me. “Want to get married?” “No,” I said. “I didn’t think so,” he said knowingly. And I’m like what’s that supposed to mean? Agreed I’m no spring chicken but I’m in my dotage either. Agreed I’m no Miss Universe but I’m reasonably pleasing to eye. And I don’t think I give out militant feminist vibes. So why couldn’t I get married?

Then another black jacket swoops down on me. And another. “Dowry case?” “420?” I could go on about that, but I digress.

I finally fought my way through the black sea, landed up at the window and asked the guy for a Rs. 10 stamp paper. “Discontinued,” he says. “Okay, 20 then.” “Discontinued.” “Fifty?” He takes a while, chews a bit on his paan, spits out the juice, wipes his mouth and says, “See, myadam, the cost of porducing a 10 rupee paper is 3 rupees. That means only 7 rupees profit. Gorment has no interest in making only 7 rupees profit. In 20 rupees, only 17 rupees profit, in 50 rupees…” “Yeah, yeah, yeah I get the picture. So what’s the minimum I can get?” “100.” “Okay, 100 then.” “Not available.” Yeesh.

Armed with the 200 buck stamp paper I came home and printed out the matter. Then I called the notary. “What are your charges?” I asked. “200.” I looked at him aghast. “But…but it costs only 45 bucks in Delhi!” I sputter. He shook his head sorrowfully. “This is a state subject and they can charge any amount. As for me, I have to put 25 bucks notarial stamps on the affidavit. So what does that leave for me?” “A healthy 175 bucks profit?” I said sarcastically. He wasn’t amused. “Who do you think pays the rent for this place?” I bought his argument. After all, I’m overpaying for my cubbyhole flat, aren’t I?

On the way back I got a rickshaw which had a faulty meter. I tried to argue with him but he wouldn’t admit to fraud. “Fine,” I said, “let’s go the havaldar and we’ll see who he believes.” So we went to the havaldar and I said, “This guy’s meter’s running fast.” The havaldar looked shocked. “Aisa kya?” and he boxed the rick driver behind the ears. Hard, like only they know how.

And just as I was starting to smirk, the rickshaw driver started snivelling. “I am so sorry, sahib, but the rates haven’t been changed in five years. And with everything getting so expensive how am I to survive?” This appeal obviously struck a chord with the havaldar and he turned to me. “Myadam, let it go, no. You know how expensiu everything is. Tur dal’s 90 bucks a kilo, potatoes 20 bucks… how is he to feed his children? How is he to survive?”

I don’t know, vasectomy maybe? Let’s see, I’m paying for the little stalls’ survival, I’m paying for the state government’s fiscal deficit (over and above the already vulturine taxes), I’m paying to feed the rick driver’s children, since when did everyone’s dearness allowance become my concern? And who’s paying mine?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »