The Age… India’s quick way to count the cost of corruption

The Age

India’s quick way to count the cost of corruption

Date: 02/02/2013
Words: 418
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Correspondent
Page: 9
FOR corrupt Indian politicians, the sacks and suitcases of cash theyget as bribes can present a real housekeeping problem when theyget their lucre home. Who is to count all the darned notes? Theirhouseholds teem with servants and flunkeys, of course, but it looks a bit unseemly to have the staff scattered around the house countingwads of notes.

The more enterprising and time conscious among them have opted for an elegant solution: a currency-counting machine, the kind that you and I have only seen in banks.

Last month, income tax officials in the southern state of Karnataka raided the Bangalore house of politician K.S. Eshwarappa and were taken aback to find not just the regulation gold, silver and cash stashed everywhere. They found a currency-counting machine.

When they asked the obvious question, why has a private individual installed such a machine in his home, his reply made them burst out laughing. According to the Indian Express newspaper, Mr Eshwarappa told them: “The children in the house use it as a toy.”

Last year, critics of the powerful low-caste leader Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh accused her of having several counting machines at home. Other politicians have been found with a machine in their cars.

The discovery of currency-counting machines demonstrates the horrific levels of corruption in India. A machine manufacturer in Chennai, south India, refused to reveal how many machine are sold to private citizens every month, beyond saying, “It’s a good business”.

Indians are used to hearing about ill-gotten gains. In 2011, the greed of a civil servant couple in central India stunned many because it seemed limitless. They owned 25 flats and 400 acres of land. Every cupboard in the house was stuffed with cash, including the spice jars, mattresses, pillows and washing machines.

“Indians are used to corruptionThey are also aware that these days we’re talking about many billions of rupees, not millions. But even so, to think that these people need to have machines at home to count cash is mind-boggling,” said political analyst Satish Jacob.

For the impatient who can’t wait until they get home, a new portable currency-counting machine is also available, perfect for thecar. It’s the size of a small blender, light and costs only a 3000 Indian rupees ($53.) Another must-have in the market is a fake note detecting machine.

“This is alarming. The government should ban the sale of these machines except to legitimate buyers such as banks or hotels,” said Akash Ahluwalia, an anti-corruption activist in New Delhi.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s