OPINION

The MBA GANG: Chapter Seven

May 12, 2006
Desi Train
The MBA GANG : Chapter One
The MBA GANG : Chapter Two
The MBA GANG : Chapter Three
The MBA GANG : Chapter Four
The MBA GANG : Chapter Five
The MBA GANG : Chapter Six

Chapter Seven: The Deal isn't Closed till it's Closed

Saturday Noon.

MK and Neha sat in front of the 3 Ms. Modi, Mahapatra and Moopanar. They were the Swiss Indian couple that Atanu had brought to the Gujarat house.

MK and Neha had been barraged with a heap of questions. Modi was trying to cover every angle in an attempt to find if there was anything amiss in the couple sitting in front of him. It was more than 12 hours since Atanu had brought in MK and Neha to Gujarat House.

Atanu sat on the chair at the corner of the room. He was nervous. This was the critical point. It would either be a smooth slide to the next stage or this thing was about to blow up in their faces. He was amazed at the cool attitude both MK and Neha were presenting inspite of the sharp needle like questions.

Atanu's heart had skipped a beat when Moopanar insisted on calling the restaurant that MK claimed he owned in Zurich.

"Yeah sure... please go ahead." said MK as he passed the restaurant's number to Moopanar.

Moopanar left the room to dial the number.

If there were any doubts in Modi's mind, they had been extinguished when he met Neha and MK. He was further encouraged when MK gave him the names of other famous Indian personalities who had entrusted MK and Neha with their money.

Mahapatra had dialed Amit Khanna, a star in Bollywood, who was still desperately clinging on to playing college boy characters. But the receding hairline, the dyed hair and the ever increasing girth by the waist weren't helping him bag the kind of roles that he was so used to twenty odd years ago.

He was once called the Chocolate Boy of the industry. Today, it was rare that he received a call from any producer. Luckily Chocolate Boy's late mother had kept an iron grip on his finances. The result was that today Khanna had incomes from two restaurants, a hotel he ran in partnership, a chain of stores, and three strip malls. Besides a sizeable amount of unaccounted money placed with a local Indian guy who was a Swiss resident.

"Oh yes yes... Mahapatra sahab, don't worry about them. I don't know them personally, but mom was very good friends with them. Your money is safe with Joshi."

Mahapatra was relieved when Khanna mentioned that over the phone. He thanked Khanna and ended the call.

Had he bothered to tell Khanna the first name of MK, he would have found that Khanna was infact talking about a M.K. Joshi - Manikchand Kishorilal Joshi and not M.K. Joshi - Manu Krishna Joshi that Mahapatra was referring to.

Moopanar came back to the room. Modi looked at him and saw Moopanar nodding enthusiastically.

"I spoke to the restaurant. It is ok."

He looked at MK "Sorry haa, but you know we need to cross check because this is too much money here we are entrusting you with. I hope you understanding."

"Oh no problem, you should, inspite of all the organized legal steps that we are taking to ensure your money is safe."

Atanu stepped in.

"Mr. Moopanar, please don't worry. I would not have introduced them to you if I had not trusted them. Also the declaration of money holder form, is a legal document that tells the bank who actually this money belongs to, so please don't worry."

Moopanar nodded.

Mahapatra was busy signing the forms. As he signed one, he would pass it to Modi. Modi would check the signature and pass it to Moopanar for his signatures.

Modi was still thinking about the entire scenario of how it would take place. He was playing the whole scene again and again to check if he could find any slip or error in the whole process.

Neha Gupta and Manu Joshi will be included as joint owners of our account. Banerjee will fax the documents to his bank. We should get the confirmation from the bank within an hour. Then this couple will go back to Switzerland where they will have the money transferred in person to their own account.

The politicians had asked the 3Ms to put a clause on the account that would require atleast two account holders to be present at the bank in case they needed to withdraw or transfer any amount greater than one million dollars.

So they will go to the bank and get the 560 million dollars transferred. The bank will check their identities and match it with the clause, confirm that two account holders are present in person at the bank and give the go ahead for the transfer to take place....

But if they try to withdraw the money in cash... the bank will do two things... ask them for the 27 digit password which they don't have and make the phone call to one of the account holders who is not present at the bank. Most likely it will be me or any of these two idiots.

The politicians had thought of every possible way to make it impossible for anyone to steal their cash. An air tight account, they once called it. Cash from their account could only be withdrawn with Manohar's signatures by Manohar himself. Anyone else would need to key in the 27 digit password and then wait till the bank called up one of the account holders to confirm if the withdrawal could be made. There were only five people who knew the password. The four politicians and Manohar.

So the money will be transferred to their account. The bank will already have received a document that the $560 million belongs to us and Gupta and Joshi are simply depositing our money in their account in exchange for a commission. Perfect. It looks perfect. After the heat is off us, I'll personally go to Switzerland and get the money out. This time perhaps Cayman Islands or maybe invested in real estate in the Bahamas or perhaps Canada... there will be sufficient time to think about it.

The forms reached Atanu. He was flicking through them to check that everything was in order.

"Everything looks fine. We can now fax these. I'll have to call the bank too, to ensure everything is inorder."

"When will they complete the process?"

"Oh in minutes. Bdamas is reputed for being quick and faster than other banks thereby reducing the customer waiting time. That's the reason people come to us. Did you know we are the only bank which is open 24/7?"

Like a flash, Modi realized something.

"WAIT!!!"

Neha's mouth went dry. Atanu's nervousness kicked out a fart. MK's cool smile retracted an inch. He looked at Modi...

"Yes?"

"Don't fax it from here. That will be proof that the documents were sent from here."

Atanu let out another fart. This time it was of relief.

"Oh ok. We'll fax it from our hotel. We have to wait for a confirmation fax back after the procedure is completed by the bank. I think our hotel will be a safe place."

Mahapatra agreed to Atanu's suggestion.

"He's right. Ok go to the hotel and fax the papers. Call us when you get the confirmation back from the bank."

"Ok."

Atanu shoved the papers in his briefcase. MK and Neha got up to shake hands with Modi.

"It was nice doing business with your Mr. Modi..."

Another flash.

"WAIT NO HOLD ON"

Atanu heart skipped another beat. WHAT ASSHOLE? WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?

"You Mr. Joshi wait here. You Mr. Banerjee go with Ms. Neha and fax the documents from your hotel. Call us when you are done."

MK looked at Modi "Why?"

Modi was thinking "I just want to make sure everything is safe and followed as per what you've told us. I'm not letting you leave the room with my money, until I see the confirmation fax back from the bank."

Moopanar's dead brain cells leaped back to life "I think you are right Modi. Listen Mr. Banerjee, you will have to understand why we are doing this. After all we are giving away our money to these people. We want to ensure it works out right."

Neha looked at MK "Don't worry hon, it's kind of an odd situation. But yes Mr. Modi I understand."

Modi was relieved, "Thanks Madam. Thanks for understanding."

MK shrugged "That's fine with me", he took a step back.

Atanau and Neha started walking towards the door.

Another one flashed through Modi's overactive brains.

"NO NO NO WAIT"

Atanu turned back "Now what Mr. Modi" I wanna beat the shit out of you because you are making me fucking nervous.

"My man will go with you."

Modi stepped into the hallway.

"YADAV... YADAV!!!"

Yadav poked his head out of one of the rooms in the hallway.

"Yes Modi sahab?"

Modi walked out of the room towards Yadav, signaling him to come forward. They met in the hallway.

Modi whispered into Yadav's ear

"Go with the guy and girl standing behind me. They are faxing some papers to our bank in Switzerland. The bank will send a confirmation fax back in return. The fax should mention that one Ms. Gupta and two Mr. Joshi are now joint holders of our account. When you get the fax, call me to confirm. I am keeping Mr. Joshi with me and will let him go only after I get your call.... "

"And if I sense anything go wrong?"

"Then you know what to do."

"Ok."

Yadav looked over Modi's shoulder and signaled to Atanu and Neha...

"Come with me."

. . . . . .

Sumanth's head was reeling with all the information Ashwin Kumar had fed him.

You were always being watched by us, right when you left Bombay... J is in Tokyo today... The politicians are nervous as hell... The money... The Swiss accounts... The Cigar Club...

"So why are you helping us?"

"Because it's time to expose the politicians and their 3 stooges."

"Why not do it yourself?"

"We are the watchdogs. You can't fight a system in the open. You'll be squished within no time. Be a vermin amongst the vermin and wipe them out"

"You know I had heard about the existence of such clubs before, thought they were just conspiracy theories... never knew one such truly existed."

"Well let's keep it that way."

"But really I still don't get it. Why not take the money for yourself?"

"Oh we will... atleast a part of it..." Ashwin looked at Sumanth and smiled.

They had been speeding at a 100 miles an hour since the last five hours. Ashwin had put the police siren on. It was giving Sumanth a headache.

"Why did you mention that we have to rush back to Delhi?"

"Because the government has already made a formal request to the Swiss to freeze the account. Officers in RAW have already been authorized to find out more dirt on the account by hook or by crook."

"So the politicians ended up playing right into our hands."

"Yes they did. The planning was quite good. I must give that to J. But anyway the danger is that there will now be a thousand eyes prying on the account within the next 48 hours. You have to get the money out and disappear before that happens"

"We were planning to leave on Sunday."

"Change in plans buddy. You are leaving tonight. And you are going straight to Switzerland instead of the multiple hopping flights you guys had planned."

Sumanth, MK, Neha and Atanu were supposed to take different flights to Europe. The connecting flights would then take them to different destinations and the third flight would have them landing in Zurich. In case they were being followed the constant changing of flights was planned as means to throw off anyone following them from India.

"But... what if we are followed..."

"Don't worry. You won't. What's your plan from Zurich?"

"New passports under new names, new identities and we all go our separate ways."

"No direct flights."

"No... " Should I be telling him all this? Well if he works for the Cigar Club he most probably knows... "Canada, Brazil, Mexico, a break and then to my final destination. I don't know about others..."

"Good. I'm sure J has a similar hopping trip for the rest of them... "

Sumanth was exhausted. The journey to Dhanpur, an entire night searching the files at Sharda Devi's house, Ashwin's entry, all the information thrown at him... he felt as if his brains were overloaded... Sumanth slid back and closed his eyes and within no time was fast asleep.

Ashwin watched Sumanth doze off from the corner of his eye. He kept driving and checking on Sumanth. When he was convinced that Sumanth wouldn't be waking up soon, Ashwin reached for Sumanth's bag in the back seat of the car. The pocket had the papers that Sumanth had torn out of the files.

Ashwin pulled the papers out by the tips of his fingers and glanced at them...

HOLY COW!!! Ashwin's eyes went wide. So this is how they plan to do it... Ashwin now had a clear idea of why Sumanth came to Dhanpur.

. . . . . .

MK followed Mahapatra to the dining hall of the second floor of the Gujarat house. Mahapatra ordered a snack while MK settled for a cup of tea. Mahapatra's mouth had not shut for a second, ever since Modi had assigned him to stick with MK. From Indian politics to Indian politics was all what Mahapatra could talk about. In MK he found a person who would listen, and Mahapatra was making good use of the opportunity.

MK had a tight fist under the table. He was desperately hoping Yadav would call back as soon as possible. He was feeling like a trapped animal. The good thing was his captors didn't know how MK felt.

. . . . . .

Atanu passed on the confirmation fax received from Bdamas Bank to Yadav. Both he and Yadav had been standing next to the fax machine in Bobby Banerjee's suite. Neha had been fidgeting with her purse all the time, a straight give away that she was nervous.

Yadav took the fax from Atanu and read it. It was official. Neha Gupta and Manu Joshi were now named as joint holders of the 3 M account.

"Ok?" Atanu asked Yadav with a slight trace of desperation. Atanu wanted to get it over with. The more he looked at Yadav, the more he feared. Fear of Yadav's heavy built. Fear of the gun tucked inside Yadav's spotless white kurta.

"Yeah it looks fine. Let me call Modi sahab." His cell phone lay on the center table, in front of Neha.

He turned around to walk towards his phone.

Beep... Beep... Beep...

The fax machine sprang back to life.

Both Atanu and Yadav jerked their necks to look at the incoming fax. Atanu reached out to pull the fax message. He knew what it was.

Yadav put his left hand between Atanu and the fax machine, non-verbally telling Atanu to step back.

Atanu's heart beats got faster. Neha was not conscious of it, but her calf muscles were vibrating with fear. She looked at Atanu, who was intensely looking at Yadav.

Yadav pulled the fax message out to read it.

--------- Fascimile Message --------------
--------- Bank Bdamas AG, Zurich --------

Dear Sirs/Madam,
We are pleased to confirm Mr. Manu Joshi and Ms. Neha Gupta as joint account holders to your account, A/C Number xxxxxxxxxx. A confirmation on this requested change has been faxed to you. Please confirm the receipt.

However we cannot accept your second request as the necessary signatures and/or passwords were not presented in the forms 467ZBG. Also clause 26a assigned by you on your account does not allow anyone to withdraw money over one million dollars without the written authorization of Mr. Manohar Singh or the 27 digit password that was assigned to you.

Hence we at this time cannot accept your request of allowing Mr. Joshi or Ms. Neha, the authorization to withdraw money in cash from this account.

Sd/- Manager, Bank Bdamas, AG, Zurich

----------- End of Fascimile Message --------------

Atanu was still trying to read a portion of the message when Yadav's slap connected with his right ear. Atanu lost his balance and fell to the floor. Yadav took his gun out and pointed at Atanu.

Neha in the commotion picked up Yadav's cellphone and threw it at him, aiming his head. The phone missed Yadav's head by a couple of inches. But it was enough to distract Yadav and turn his attention on Neha.

This gave Atanu time to spring and dash into Yadav's stomach head on. Yadav was pushed back a little, but his tight grip over his gun had him depressing the trigger.

The bullet slit open the edge of Atanu's neck and ended up on the wall behind him. The noise of the bullet shocked Atanu and he paused. Yadav aimed the butt of the gun on Atanu's temple and struck hard.

. . . . . .

Ashwin's cellphone sprang to life with a sharp ring tone. It broke Sumanth's sleep. He looked out to check where they were. Delhi. Ashwin was talking on the phone

"... ok... ok... We'll be there in 10 minutes."

He signed off and looked at Sumanth.

"It seems like your partners have a slight problem. The 3 Ms have kept MK with them at Gujarat House and have sent Yadav with Neha and Datta to the hotel."

"Who's Yadav?"

"A murderer and Modi's right hand"

"Do you think my friends are in trouble?"

"Not sure. But we'll soon find out. We'll be at the hotel in 10 minutes."

God don't let them get in any trouble. Not after having come so far... I won't let anything happen to them... A not playing by the rules Sumanth Reddy was an extremely dangerous Sumanth Reddy.

. . . . . .

Yadav tried to join the three pieces his cellphone had broken into. It was of no use. He walked to Atanu who was lying on the floor face down. Atanu still had not moved. Yadav kicked Atanu to check if he was alive. His kicking had no effect.

Neha sat on the floor with her back resting on the sofa. Her face was still throbbing with pain. The bleeding had stopped.

"Did you fuckers honestly think you would be able to steal our money?"

Neha did not answer.

"Well, whatever rest of the information you haven't told us, we'll get it from your guy Manu."

He took the magazine and knocked it back into the gun.

"Too bad... I have to kill you before I could taste that fucking body of yours."

Yadav pointed the gun at Neha

"Bye Bye Bhenchod."

. . . . . .

"So you know I helped at the grass root level to help Chief Minister saheb win the election. Array I tell you he would have lost had not I been there. You know every one wants to become a party worker these days, but nobody wants to work for the party..."

Mahapatra was still going on and on. Four plates of snacks and two rounds of Johnny Walker Black Label, could not stop Mahapatra.

MK was on his sixth cup of tea. Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. I can feel it. MK wished he could somehow find if Neha and Atanu were ok. Why haven't they called? Something is very wrong here...

. . . . . .

Ashwin and Sumanth walked past the door of Bobby Banerjee's room. They walked passed two more doors when Ashwin stopped and opened the door in front of them.

Sumanth followed Ashwin into the hotel room. Three men were sitting in the room. There were gadgets and equipments all around. They all had some kind of listening devices plugged in their ear. They are listening to something... but what?

They all jumped up on seeing Ashwin.

"Sir!"

"At ease guys. Robin. What's the status?"

"Sir, about 10 minutes ago there was a bullet shot in the room. Yadav seems to have found out what's going on."

Sumanth jumped..

"Bullet shot? Which of my friends are inside?"

"It's Neha and Atanu"

Ashwin looked at Sumanth

"Calm down. Robin any idea if anyone is hurt?"

"Sir, we haven't heard Mr. Atanu's voice since the shot."

No No No.... Atanu... why him why him... he's got a wife and kid... No fucking no... not him...

"... And Ms. Neha has been physically assaulted. I think Yadav's used his belt to beat her up..."

The blood in Sumanth's body was warming up; the temperature inside him rapidly moving towards boiling point...

"Has she told him anything...?"

"Bit and pieces... most of the time she's trying her best to lie..."

"Let's listen, give him the ear piece too" Ashwin pointed towards Sumanth.

Robin passed on the ear plugs to Ashwin and Sumanth.

Sumanth put the piece in his left ear...

He heard a voice he had never heard before,

"... whatever rest of the information you haven't told us, we'll get it from your guy Manu."

Sumanth heard a metallic sound. He's loading his gun... he's fucking loading his gun... Neha...

"... Too bad... I have to kill you... "

Before Ashwin and his assistants could react, Sumanth was racing out towards Bobby Banerjee's hotel room...

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