Black money: The word this week

Black money: The word this week

Starting this issue, a snappy take on a word, concept or news that has been the talk of the town.

What is it?

Unaccounted money on which income tax is not paid. What comes around goes into thin air or, preferably, in a Swiss bank account. The Swiss are renowned for being neutral in war, font and finance.

Why is it in the news?

This week, the government submitted a list of names of individuals and companies who have stashed undeclared assets abroad, to the Supreme Court, following its order to the Centre to disclose all such names being investigated. The Special Investigation Team has now been asked to verify the list and submit a status report by the end of November.

How Bollywood does it?

The government is going about it all wrong. The accused are not going to have a change of heart a la Raj Kapoor in Shree 420 (1955) or Dev Anand in Kala Bazaar (1960). Here’s what they can do instead.


Get Sanjay Dutt: In 2010’s Knock Out, Dutt makes calls to bad guy Irrfan who can’t hang up (Phone Booth anyone?), and gets him to transfer Rs 32,000 crore from his Swiss bank account for the “future of the country”.

Strip: Ajay Devgn stumbles upon bags of illegal cash and a dead body in Singham Returns (2014). He fights the system in sunglasses.

When that doesn’t work, he strips off his khaki shirt, convinces several hundred policemen to strip too, and takes the law in his hands.

Call Thalaiva: In 2007’s Sivaji, Rajinikanth transfers about Rs 46,000 crore in black money (hawala holla!) to his friends in the US, who route the money back as donations to the Sivaji Foundation. The CBI get involved, there’s a voice-encrypted laptop with all the data, and in a stroke of brilliance, Sivaji electrocutes himself in jail. The Boss resurrects himself as Amitabh Bachchan to run his foundation. Kind of ironic, given how apna Vijay exchanged so many no-combination-required briefcases with neat bundles of Rs 100 and Rs 500 in Don, Deewar and Trishul, all through the ’70s.