Of banks, gangsters, and trade wars


At a time when tariff barriers being raised by the Donald Trump administration led to the Chinese and Indian governments imposing tariff and non-tariff barriers, B.V. Kumar’s book 'DRI and the Dons: The Untold Stories' becomes the most relevant and telling account of trade wars and how the role of law enforcement agencies comes into play. Many would wonder what has law enforcement got to do with tariff barriers and trade wars, but Kumar, who has spent decades neutralising syndicates of organised economic crime, explains it through firsthand accounts of gripping investigations of how enforcement agencies stepped in at various stages to create an “invisible presence” to prevent banking and financial institutions from becoming vulnerable to organised crime, white collar criminals, terrorists and drug traffickers.

These accounts include the investigations into the biggest crime syndicates run by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim,Vicky Goswami and his journey from being a bootlegger from Ahmedabad to an international drug lord, and a sea of other cases like operation Sesha.

The reason why organised crime is a big cause for worry today is because banks and financial institutions are a vital link in facilitating international trade in goods and services. “With burgeoning inflation, widening balance of payments deficit and a weak rupee against the dollar , the demand for goods of conspicuous consumption, including gold, luxury goods and electronic goods with the latest technology, would create its own supply. Further, with the tariffs being raised, the availability and cost of such goods will naturally increase,” says Kumar in the epilogue of the book .

“It should also be kept in mind that organised crime would take over all connected operations, since there is a close nexus between organised crime, economic crime, drug trafficking, terrorist activity and money laundering, ultimately resulting in subversion of the democratic politics process,” he writes.

Kumar joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1958 and his vast experience in key positions such as director general of Revenue Intelligence, Narcotics Control Bureau, Economic Intelligence Bureau and a member of the Central Board or Excise and Customs lends weightage to the book, which delves deep into the challenges for law enforcement organisations like the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence whose charter of duties has increased manifold over the years. Today these agencies are moving forward to embracing information technology and other key tools to keep pace with the great degree of sophistication that has come into activities of smuggling, tax evasion and commercial fraud.

DRI and the Dons: The Untold Stories

Author: BV Kumar

Publisher: Konark Publishers, New Delhi

Price: Rs 525