Friday, March 18, 2011

How Scams are Investigated

The basic lessons were learned one warm afternoon in early summer….. It was also that phase in our lives when our minds were illuminated with the realization that there was more to birds and bees than, well, just birds and bees. There was a lot to be learned, the mind was fighting to be freed and imagination would often run out of control.

It was no secret that our class mate V…. had eyes on S…. Ours being a boys’ school, pairing opportunities were almost non-existent. Thus, V… was the envy of everyone. No one knew what S… looked like, so it was left to the creative minds in the class to describe - and often draw- her. Not surprisingly, her appearance changed almost daily, depending on what one thought about V…on a given day.

Classes were over that day and we were out playing in the school ground. The teachers were relaxing in the classrooms, correcting our exercise books and glad to be rid of us for the day

Earlier, one creative mind had come up with the noble-but unnecessary-idea of immortalizing the relationship between V… and S…. He drew a sketch which was passed around the class for comments, changes and approval. Expectedly, the sketch quickly metamorphosed into something quite graphic. During the games hour, the class snitch or-if you prefer-the whistleblower got hold of the incriminating drawing and, with a righteous smirk, presented it to the teacher along with a few names.

The teacher decided that the matter was serious and warranted a proper investigation. A teacher from the next class was co-opted into the inquiry. The first group of suspects was rounded up and made to stand before the panel.

BOYS! How could you do such a thing?!!
Miss, it wasn’t us.

But you drew this
Miss, but A… told us to.

Call A… ( A… is summoned from the playground)
What, miss?

These boys say that you said something about V…
No, miss

Don’t lie!
Yes, miss (almost a whisper)
Speak up!
Miss, I saw B…C…D…talking about it. God promise, I swear!

Call B…C…D… at once!

B…, C… and D… are hauled in. They were quite puzzled about the accusations but were anxious to get out of the mess. They did the obvious- by implicating a few more. It went on like this till the classroom was filled with forty bewildered and frightened  ten and eleven-year olds with nightmarish visions of punishment-both in school and at home.

It was no easier for the teachers. They were getting nowhere. Hopes for a quick detection and punishment vanished and the only thought in everyone’s mind now was that of a dignified exit and, of course, of not missing the bus.

And the collective wailing was making matters unbearable

The teachers sighed loudly.


Forty terror-stricken and tear-stained and faces looked up..

Are you sorry?
Yes, miss. Forty voices chorused as one.
You won’t do it again?
No, miss

Now, go.
Yes, miss, thank you, miss

We grabbed our backs and rushed to our buses.

And the anonymous artist continued in his creative vein for the rest of the school year.

Many years later there was Bofors, which was followed by the Telgi incident. CWG and 2G are still in the news. Investigating methods haven’t really changed much; nor have they been particularly effective. 

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