CA Saurav Somani

I hurried inside the elevator of the Sale Tax Department among others and breathed in the usual “fragrance” of tobacco and paan plastered colourfully on the door. My pocket felt heavy with currency notes which, by the time I would leave, would become considerably lighter!

Perhaps you are expecting a usual case of corruption, the ‘so-used-to’ handing out the money like sweets in order to satisfy the hunger of the henchmen; well, I too expected the same as I reached the fourth floor.

Little did I know that a most ‘curious’ case awaited me…

As soon as I walked in to a large room full of clerks, assistants and mountainous piles of files, my face split into a smile. A fake smile, to speak the truth; you have to have a “pleased-to-see-you” expression to please the people sitting there, if you want your work done!

Heads turned as I made my way to an assistant, they all had their eyes on me. Was I good looking? Well those heads usually turned not because of your good looks but because of their greed.

Businessman Hand And Money To Other For Corruption

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Good morning, Sir!” I greeted happily to an assistant as if nothing could’ve made me happier than to see him! (Let’s call him Mr. A).

 “Hmmm…” Mr. A grunted, not interested in greeting back, but busy reading the newspaper.

“Sir, it’s been fifteen days since I made an application for C-form; my employee comes here every day for the form but is denied. My client isn’t happy. Sir, may I know the reason?” I asked politely, suppressing any hint of anger I felt.

Mr. A still didn’t look up; the newspaper he was reading might have some highly exciting, buzz worthy news. Or, perhaps, what I said was as unimportant as a buzzing bee.

“You tell me, how can I issue you C-form?” Mr. A finally spoke.

“I don’t understand,” I said, perplexed, “My client’s returns, taxes, assessment are all clear. And yes,” I said in a whisper, “I paid you your fees. So why –

“No, no,” Mr. A interrupted, waving his hands, “you don’t get it. I didn’t find your client’s file.”

Didn’t find my client’s file?” I repeated, even more perplexed.

“See the files here,” he barked, gesturing to the dusty countless files around him, “The file is lost somewhere!”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I flared up, unable to contain anymore, “File is lost? That’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard! I – ”

“Listen, mister!” Mr. A stood up, glaring at me, “Don’t you yell at me like this! What can I do if the file is lost?!”

“Listen, Sir!” I stated firmly, “if the file is indeed lost, it’s your fault. It’s not ours. You should’ve apologised for such irresponsibility! And yet, you are behaving as if it’s not your fault! I ask you!”

And so, we argued on and people gathered about for the show. Mr. A was of no help. He made me look as if I was the culprit behind the lost file. Infuriated, I stormed inside the office of “higher authority” and explained the curious case of the lost file.

The higher authority called Mr. A.

“What happened? How can the file be lost?”

“I don’t know, Sir!” Mr. A replied.

I surely thought with relief that the higher authority would reprimand him. The case would be solved. Instead, to my utter amazement, the higher authority and Mr. A suddenly smiled at each other as if sharing a private joke. And I was the subject of their joke…

Mr. A suddenly left the office. The higher authority looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, young man. The file will be found. It must have got misplaced. See, things are different here…” his whispered his voice fraught with conspiracy, “Just give Mr. A some chai-pani…

In case if you are unaware, “Chai-pani” is the perfect synonym of bribery which you wouldn’t get in a dictionary!

Five minutes later, I found myself, most unwillingly and most painfully, handing out my hard-earned money not only to Mr. A but also to his peon. They literally jumped about in glee as if they had won some lottery!

As this incident comes to an end, the most peculiar, annoyingly hilarious part was: they searched the file here and there, out and about, beating around the bush.

After half an hour, however, it hit me they were actually pretending. They got the file. Not in a different or unlikely place. But on the same table where the file was ought to be!

Walking out of the department, I felt a wave of sadness. Not because I bribed them for a ridiculous reason or I was the subject of their joke or my self-esteem had been hurt…No…

It just dawned on me that the contagious virus of corruption isn’t just spreading among ‘systems’ or ‘structures’ but also stabbing and infesting the very core of humanity, crumbling the very essence of our Soul.

Several questions struck me: Who were the culprits? The men whom I bribed? Or I who bribed them? Or both? Or, perhaps, the system?

                I pose these questions to you. I won’t answer them. Nor do I expect you to. These questions, believe me, are rhetoric; any answer would pave way to more questions of greater ethical dilemmas.

Perhaps, in this case, the upcoming regime of GST will act as a catalyst to cut out corruption. Because I believe that corruption even though it runs deep in the country cannot overshadow honesty.

Shadow is not without light. Honesty cannot be underrated for there are indeed the brave ones who battle bribery with their bravery; the courageous who cut corruption with their conscience. Honesty is the best policy, they say. Yet, I do feel like adding a bit more to the adage: Honesty, only if practiced, is the best policy!

(Author can be reached at Email: casauravsomani@gmail.com)

Author Bio

Qualification: CA in Practice
Company: N/A
Location: Guwahati, Assam, IN
Member Since: 01 Sep 2017 | Total Posts: 7
Well, it’s not really about “Me”… Invert the “M” and “Me” becomes “We”! Oh yeah, believe me, it’s actually about Life and World and of People out there…their dreams, their stories so interconnected with you, me, we and everyone! But still…a little about “me”- View Full Profile

My Published Posts

More Under Goods and Services Tax

Posted Under

Category : Goods and Services Tax (7875)
Type : Articles (18038) Featured (4033)
Tags : graft (42)

48 responses to “Comedy of corruption! The curious case of Sale Tax Department”

  1. Umapathy S says:

    It is an indisputable fact that honest people cannot survive in politics and govt jobs.Either one has to go with the tide or quit .There are still irreducible considerable honest people who are compelled to be silent spectators is also a fact

  2. kamalakar y sawant says:

    This is the sorry state of affairs. The Government servants / offecers are may be your or mine sons, brothers or close relatives. The moment the join the services they are automatically converted We must adopt an educational system like Germany or Japan. The child , the moment jumps out of cradle must be injected with feels of honesty as far as national interest are concern The Nation first and any act detrimental to nations prosperity is anti national , that is what got to be imbibed.

  3. Mayur says:

    What the reality is when you approach Sales Tax departments, I felt like having experienced it in real world..!! You are a very good observer and writer, CA Saurav.

    Thanks for your share.

  4. M N JHA says:

    We are also responsible for it. Hope so GST will bring more transparency in tax system.
    Nice Article and Writing Skill 🙂

  5. syed says:

    the source of corruption is the only way by which black money is generated.with out stop this corruption.in all form again the black money get generated. what will the gov.do. only people who do not have source to corruption unhappy the poor and the need suffer.

  6. Niranjan says:

    I wonder how the big4 gets their work done in these kind of departments. I often hear that they never give bribe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *