Bribe your way to the top

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Photo: Vijay Pandey
Photo: Vijay Pandey

One fine morning, pretending to be an unemployed pilot looking for a job, Tehelka contacted Suresh Kumar Lamba, private secretary to O/o director, ministry of civil aviation. Edited excerpts from the conversation…

Tehelka: Hello sir, kaise hain? (How are you?)

Suresh Kumar Lamba: Badiya. Aap sunao kuch nayi taazi (I’m good. What’s new?)

Tehelka: Kuch nahin, sir. Aap bataiye (Nothing much. You tell me).

Lamba: Kya hua Jet ka? Aapne exam dee thee… (What happened to the Jet exam?)

Tehelka: Abhi tak result nahin aaya. Pichle baar written toh clear ho gaya tha, par interview main nahi hua (The result is not out yet. Earlier, I had cleared the written exam, but couldn’t clear the interview).

Lamba: Apni details bhejna mujhe. Agar pehle exam diya hua hai toh kahin baar consider kar lete hain kisi ko approach karne pe (Send me your details. They do consider candidates who have appeared earlier if the approach is made through some source).

Tehelka: SpiceJet ya IndiGo main kuch jugaad hai kya? (Do you any connection in SpiceJet or IndiGo?)

Lamba: IndiGo main apply kiya hai? Ek question bank aaya hai mere pass. Kisi ne bheja tha. Mujhe kaha tha ki agar tumhara koi baccha padhne wala ho toh de dena… bhejta hoon aapko. Isi main se aayenge (Have you applied with IndiGo? Somebody has sent me a question bank. I will forward it to you).

Tehelka: Question bank toh mera paas bhi hai, sir. Naukri ka kuch karwaiye. Written paas hone ke baad kuch jugaad hai kya aapka? (I also have the question bank. Please do something about my job. Do you have any connection?)

Lamba: Haan, jugaad toh hai (Yes, I do).

Tehelka: Kitne lagenge? (How much will it cost?)

Lamba: Woh main aapko batata hoon (I will let you know).

Tehelka: Ek andaz bata dijiye. Koi bol raha tha 20 tak ho jaayega (Give me an estimate. Somebody was saying 20 [lakh]).

Lamba: I will let you know, par kaam chahe jisese bhi karwao, humse karwao ya kisi aur se, paise kaam ke baad hee dena, varna phas jaayenge. Rate main bata doonga, first you have to clear the written (I will let you know. Get it done though me or anyone else, but don’t give the money before your work gets done. I will tell you the rate once you clear the written exam).

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Tehelka: Accha sir. Licence conversion bhi karana ek dost ka. Ek week main ho jaayega? (I’d like to convert the licence of a friend. Can it be done within a week?)

Lamba: Ho jaayega, but rates badal gaye hain. Pehle 20,000 main ho jaata tha. Ab naye bande aa gaye toh rates badal jaayenge. Time… time ki baat hai (I will get it done. Earlier, it used to happen for 20,000, but now the rates have changed as the new guys have come).

Another day, posing as another candidate, Tehelka contacted him again…

Tehelka: Hello sir.

Lamba: Haan. Boliye kya kaam hai? (What do you want?)

Tehelka: Sir, zara recruitment ke baare main baat karni thee… IndiGo ke liye… (I’d like to talk to you regarding recruitment in IndiGo).

Lamba: Air India mai bhi vacany nikli hai. Usme apply karo (There is a vacancy at Air India. Apply there).

Tehelka: Ok, sir. But sir, aap bhi jaante hain na ki bina pehchaan ke nahi hota, aap agar karwa sakte hai toh bataiye (But you also know that without connection it will not happen. Can you get it done?)

Lamba: Haan haan. Ho jaayega. Usme aap apply kar do. Apply toh har jagah karna chahiye. Aapne IndiGo ka paper diya tha? (Yes, it can be done. You have to apply everywhere. Have you applied with IndiGo?)

Tehelka: Diya tha, sir (Yes).

Lamba: Paper toh suna hai aassan tha. Dekho written main toh no one will help you. Result aane par kuch ho sakta hai (I heard that the paper was easy. But no one will help you in written. I can try once the result is out).

Tehelka: Sir, aap bhi jaante hai ki kuch kuch incidents toh aise hote hain ki logon ka naam list main hota nahi hai phir bhi select ho jaate hain (Many a time, people get the job even when their names are not on the list).

Lamba: (laughs).

Tehelka: Sir, kuch karwa sakte hain toh bataiye aur amount bata dijiye (If you can help then let me know about the amount).

Lamba: Result aaney do, phir baat kartey hai (Let the result come, then we will talk).

Tehelka: Amount bata dijiye… 20-30? Kitna? (Please tell me abut the amount. 20-30? How much?)

Lamba: 20 tak ho jaayega. Jitna minimum ho jaaye, but abhi I can’t tell you anything. Saamne wala kya chahta ahi, woh sab kaam lene par he pata chalega (Around 20 [lakh]. We will try to keep it at the minimum. Let’s see what the other person quotes).

Tehelka: Ho jaayega kya, sir? (Can you get it done?)

Lamba: Simple si baat hai. Setting honi chahiye… ho jaayega. 20 ke aas paas ho jaayega… 20 se 30 tak (It’s a matter of influence… It will get done. Probably for 20 [lakh]. Between 20 and 30).

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