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Don't you know you have committed a crime?

Starting with Nehru, the Indian government has always been anti-business and anti capitalistic.  It favoured state ownership of everything.

That approach has not yielded required benefits to the people but it has certainly maimed Indian entrepreneurship, and harmed India's development immensely. I narrate a real life experience of mine.

Two things one can be certain of, death and taxes.

Once set up, government bureaucracies can never be shut down. On the contrary government departments and their numbers continue to grow until Government strangulates life of the very people who generate wealth. Governments rarely generate wealth but provide governance. Politicians often feed their fantasies, egos, and programs by using government machinery but burdening the people with taxes.

Paying taxes is the duty of all earning and consuming citizens, provided the taxes are reasonable. The government's appetite for funds is insatiable and it needs ever increasing amounts of money.

To ensure compliance draconian rules and wide discretionary powers are given to all  government agencies. If you are a successful organisation or a tax payer you become a natural target. The more you pay the more the government targets you.

One day my company was raided by one of the tax authorities wanting to verify our tax payments. It was the first raid I had ever encountered, it was a harrowing experience.  While we were cooperative, we found their behaviour negative and humiliating. After all these folks in the tax agencies are trained to work with the assumption that everyone is guilty until proven innocent.

I asked the officer who was leading the raid. "We have paid all our dues, and was this not harassment and unwarranted action?"

His response was, " Don't you know you have committed a crime, in fact a big crime?".

I was puzzled and I asked him, " What crime are you talking about? We have committed no crime."

Sniggering he said "You have. You have set up an industry."
He smilingly continued "If you commit a murder you will have just one police inspector pursuing you. Now that you have set up an industry you have 52 inspectors who target you and will be chasing you.

With a sneer, the tax official stated that it was his job and in a sinister tone suggested that we should co-operate or else the consequences would be severe.

Snapping his fingers he continued , " We have enormous discretionary powers, and the ability to shut your operations down just like that."
"Don't forget, we can also initiate various legal proceedings against you." he said as an after thought.

He added " We all have aggressive financial targets. We have to find so called 'defaulters'. If we fail to achieve our targets it can cost us our promotions and even our careers. Better you dead than us."

The nine member team brought a large number of files and papers into my cabin. While most of the team pottered around filling all the documents into big pieces of red cloth, a couple of officials recorded my statement.

Eventually they left our factory at one o'clock in the morning. I sat down in my chair exhausted and drained from this terrifying experience. Something in my cabin did not feel right. I looked at my bookcase where various books and art items were kept and saw two very valuable porcelain cats gifted to us by one of our esteemed customers missing.


  1. Vikas said;
    Dear sir,


    Your every article is a piece of art with all the truth.
    Simply great.

    Rathi Vikas ( Aug 2014

  2. Vikas ji,

    You are gracious
    Thank you for your kind appreciation.



  3. Vasant Khisty said;
    Dear GS

    This was fantastic. Hope it reaches Modi. Modi has a web site where u can post this also seek his appointment. Now that I am setting my business I feel I am comitting a crime already . I have to file returns every quarter for service tax and one day delay will cost me 25000 rs.

    Its a crime to be a business man in India
    I loved the article

  4. Dear Vasant,

    I am happy to hear that you liked the article and could relate to it.
    I am saddened that you are feeling that u too are feeling u have committed a crime.

    Wish you all success, our prayers are always with you.



  5. Gurinder Pratap Singh Cheema said;

    An eye opener, for a layman like me.
    Although, you wrote this blog in 2010, but the situation has gone from bad to worse. Hope that 'achche din ayeinge'.


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