Saturday, January 28, 2012

I want EC. What do you want?

Our family and our relatives had four adjoining properties in Gopalapuram. All the houses were
quite old. The apartment culture had begun.

We thought it wise to develop all the properties together and approached Alacrity Foundations.
They had made a name for themselves for straight dealings and were totally against corruption (long, long before Lokpal and all that).

We finalised our deal with them in mid-1990. They were meticulous in their paper work. We had furnished all the documents and related paper work for all the four properties - except the EC (Encumberence Certificate) for our property "The Cottage".

The EC was to be obtained for a period of 30 years. On enquiry I found that papers relating to these years were available not in one office, but in three different Registrar offices. Time was running out.

I was pushed to the wall. Then one day I spotted one bright and enthusiastic chap. I went straight to him and uttered just two sentences:

I want EC. What do you want?

He said, "Give me Rs.1,500 and your job will be done within a week". Fortunately I had taken with me exactly that amount. Without any negotiation I immediately pulled out the money and handed it over to him without giving him a chance to say anything else.

When should I come and collect the papers from you, I asked him. At that point of time my office was in Royapuram and he said, " Come next saturday in front of Royapuram Police Station exactly at 9 am and collect the papers from me."

In those days, there was no cell phone. I went to the Police station at 9 am with my fingers crossed. The guy was waiting for me and handed me over the ECs.

I remembered what my father often used to repeat: "Thank God there is corruption. You can get your job done."

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