There has been some criticism of the manner in which some of our leading businessmen are being raided and arrested. To counter this criticism, the directorate of revenue intelligence recently invited me to its offices to see how it functions.
"We make a thorough investigation before we arrest an industrialist and lock him up," a senior BRI officer, who was showing me around, said. "Our officers fly to Tokyo, Kobe, London New York to gather all the facts, then only we move in."
"Very thorough," I said.
We entered a room where some officers were sitting holding their heads and looking like they were suffering from a hangover. "Yes," said the officer who was taking me around, "we had a little celebration yesterday on the arrest of Mr. Kirloskar, the weather. But then they deserve a celebration."
"Of course," I said. "Tell me, what is you criteria for deciding which industrial house to raid?"
The officer said. "Actually, it is very simple. We find out which in dustrial house is doing well expanding has increased its exports ten fold in recent years, is spending has increased its exports ten fold, in recent years, is spending money on various public service projects. Then we go after it and hit it like a sledgehammer. The older and more established the company is, the better.
" I am glad you have explained it," I said," because a lot of people like the Indian Merchants Chamber and the FICCI are under the impression that you just pick any industry from the telephone directory and raid it."
"Even if we were to do something like that, Mr. V.P. Singh would never allow it," the office said.
"There is another criticism, quiteill founded no doubt, that when you arrest industrialists, you put them in custody and lock them up in jail, while when smugglers are arrested, before anybody knows it, they are let out on bail and return to their smuggling," I said "Do you have any explanation for that?"
" I have heard that criticism also," the officer said. "My reply is that the smugglers hire all the best lawyers, who manage to find loopholes in the laws for them the industrialists do not hire good lawyers, probably because they cannot afford them."
Just then a man in a safari suit was brought in and taken to the interrogation room. The officer explained. "One more industrialist, just arrested in a predawn raid. Don't worry, by the time you reach the office, the entire handout on the arrest will be waiting on your table, who he is how he has been arrested for not paying tax in 1978, etc. we have become very thorough in the mater of publicity."
"Yes, congratulations," I said. "I would like to see how you pick your industrialists.
The officer took me into a room where several men were sitting with copies of Gita Piramal's Industrialists of India. "We are following the book," he said ‘chapter by chapter".