Nothing Can Be As Crafty

In the First Bank of India, a girl has jumped to her death, after sneaking into the highly-restricted area of the main server room. The movement recording stick has gone missing. Rajesh—a recently-appointed head of the Computers Group of the organization—finds himself embroiled in an unexpected controversy, when the police begin viewing him as the prime suspect.

Is Rajesh, in fact, guilty? Or is this a case of pure vendetta—given his history of direct confrontations with his colleagues? Or is the plot even murkier, and part of a dangerous conspiracy? Will Rajesh, with the help of his trusty assistant, be able to uncover the mystery before the police implicate him?

Set against the backdrop of banking institutions, Nothing Can Be As Crafty… is a taut, racy thriller, with a new twist at every turn of the page—certain to keep the reader on the edge.

A mystery of computerized scam from the financial world.

 

Nothing can be as Crafty… is second novel, a mystery, on life in the Indian service-class, in line with my earlier novel ‘Nothing can be as Crazy…’ published by Rupa. It is a contemporary story that delves into life of a straight and committed bank-officer Rajesh who takes things head-on, unravelling a high level conspiracy for a computerised scam for siphoning off funds.

The story gives a close account of the highly computerised FOREX operations and reflects on the dubious system which functions bureaucratically and seeks to malign the committed officer in a plot. Unfolding of the plot mystery leads to startling revelation that it was actually only a cover for something deeper – a high level computerised scam, and how the craze for porno leads to chance uncovering it.

Rajesh has just reported for his new posting at computers group in the Foreign Transactions Monitoring Office (FTMO), a highly computerised nodal office for FOREX operations of FBI (First Bank Of India) at Calcutta from where he started his career as a probationer nineteen years ago from an in-house training. Only few months pass, when carrying out his duties conscientiously, he comes into direct confrontation with the staff on various occasions, culminating in hatching of deep conspiracy to malign him by sneaking an outsider girl into the most secured and totally restricted area of the main Server Room. The story takes a dramatic turn when the girl, who sneaks into the Server Room, jumps to death and later, movement recording (memory) stick of the Server Room also goes missing, ultimately landing in the hands of police. He beats his detractors when due to ingenuity of his assistant Rajendran, an extremely intelligent and astute telecom engineer, police fail to retrieve any data from the recording stick. And the climax when chance unwinding of the plot due to craze for porno site leads to stunning revelation that it was actually only a cover for something deeper – a conspiracy for a high level computerised scam for siphoning off funds, but it remains mystery who was actually behind the attempted scam. Will he and his assistant Rajendran be able to unfold the plot mystery? Can the craze for porno site lead to uncovering of a cyber scam and prove to be a boon in disguise?

Alongside the main story, the novel also exposes hypocritical nature of Indian middle-class and reflects on its woes, despair, struggles and conflicts as well.

A must read for

  • financial world people
  • computer buffs
  • mystery lovers

1).

As soon as I opened the door with my key, we could not believe our eyes. The vendor engineer, permanently stationed at the FTMO, was embracing some girl. They immediately wriggled out of each other’s arms, tidying their clothes. Before we could understand anything, the girl darted out of the door, followed by the engineer, and they started running towards the staircase. We ran after them too, but before we could catch them, we heard a loud thump. We reached the staircase, but there was no sign of them. When we looked down from the balcony, we saw some commotion there and people gathered around the cars parked there. As it was already dark, we could not make out much from the nineteenth floor. We rushed to the lifts to reach the ground floor, as fast as possible. There lay the girl’s body on one of the cars’ roof, parked there.

Everything happened so fast that we were totally taken aback. We did not know what to do. We were completely shocked.

2).

And finally, the lid was blown off when I refused to overlook and violate eligibility norms and rules for financing a home loan to the relative of a senior.

‘Rajesh, did one Mr Verma come to you for a housing loan and you refused to oblige him?’ my immediate boss, the ZM, grilled me over the phone.

‘Yes sir, he did come for a housing loan, but his plot was an agricultural one outside the municipal limit, and hence was not eligible for a housing loan. So he could not be financed.’

‘So what? You know who Mr Verma is. He is very closely related to our senior. I just received a call from the boss that it is to be done. Moreover, your branch is quite short of home loan targets.’

‘But how can an agricultural plot, outside the municipal limit, be financed for a housing loan?’

‘Who doesn’t know all this? See, he has been recommended by the boss…then why are you worried? He would take care of any fallout.’

‘Sorry sir, I can’t finance housing loan for an agricultural land. I can’t do this so blatantly, come what may.’

‘It’s up to you. I was just advising you as your well-wisher. Anyway, you decide, but then be prepared for the consequences as the boss would definitely get it done.’

‘Either toe the line and flourish, or apply reason and perish.’ Soon I was given a marching order out of the circle.

Thanks to my ‘connections’ at the central office and my specialized training in computers, I managed to land at Cal, and that too for an important assignment of head of the Computers Group at the Foreign Transactions Monitoring Office (FTMO) of the FBI.

3).

‘Meet my friend Aishorjo,’ my wife introduced me to her new friend.

‘Hello, I’m Rajesh. Nice name you have!’ I was a bit of surprised by her name.

‘Hello! In fact, my name is Aishwarya, but we Bongs pronounce it as Aishorjo, not correct to say we cannot,’ she clarified reading an expression of disbelief on my face.

‘Great! But how can we do it, pronounce like Bongs?’

‘Simple! Pop a rossogolla into your mouth and then try pronouncing my name, and it will sound like Aishorjo only,’ and we had a hearty laugh.

My wife was visiting me to do a one-month’s refresher course for the University teachers, at Calcutta University. She was teaching at one of the post-graduate colleges, a Christian minority college, affiliated to Kanpur University and decided to continue her job there when I was transferred to Cal. It was her second stint at a permanent teaching job and this time she did not want to leave the job. In fact, this time she took up the job only on the condition that she would not give it up. So, she did not come with me to Cal and I was staying alone as a forced bachelor. Earlier, she had taught for five years before leaving it in 1986 to become a full-time mother. As she had to do a refresher course, she jumped at the opportunity when Calcutta University announced to conduct a one. It was killing two birds with one stone—completing mandatory requirement of doing a refresher course and staying with me. Moreover, Calcutta University was reputed to conduct such courses better than many other universities.

4).

The scene at Computers Group located on the nineteenth floor was like a science fiction fantasy. Various sections of the group were separated by aluminium-glass partitions and fitted with password-operated doors, concealed close circuit cameras, and movement recording systems. Since it was the hub for all the computer networks—internal as well as external, having satellite connectivity through VSAT, it was full of various computer equipments including servers and routers, and anybody would be mesmerized by their continuous beeps and flashing LED lights. The main server room was in the most secured area, very isolated from other departments, and generally inaccessible to anyone. Even the system administration jobs were done through remote login by the System Administrator, having limited access rights to main servers.

I was slowly getting accustomed to the totally computerized environment of the FTMO. Though I already had a fair exposure to computers from my IIT days and later had also undergone thorough training while at the FBI Institute of Computers, and at the IIM, Ahmedabad, but the scenario had changed completely from then. Gradually, I was getting used to this.

Can craze for a pornographic website lead to uncover a high-level scam for siphoning off huge funds?

‘I think, basically, we have been able to crack the mystery due to our earlier server room misadventure and experience when we tried to watch such a site from outside the server room by fiddling with the monitoring terminal. This experience only led us to sniffing and ultimately unfolding the scam. See, how ironic it is that craze for the site led us to uncover a high-level scam for defrauding, and consequently saving us from many untold problems. In a way, it became a boon in disguise.’

Comments For Nothing Can Be Crafty

On Amazon  5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for bankers. Interesting plot. Ajay maintained suspence till end. Life in bank and Cal portrayed realistically. Looking forward for his next. CSCM SANKARA RAO 5.0 out of 5 stars  Amazing read By AJ Very engrossing read – holds your attention till the very end. And yet […]

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