Breaking Good: The “Drug Peddler” Who Filed IT Returns Worth 40 Lakh

Satire

Breaking Good: The “Drug Peddler” Who Filed IT Returns Worth 40 Lakh

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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34-year-old construction labourer recently declared ₹40 lakh as annual income in his income-tax return and has been arrested for peddling drugs. What can you say, this is no country for honest people.

My heart goes out to the man, really. Imagine how excited he must have been, when he first logged in to the Income Tax website, with dreams of becoming a part of the smallest minority in India – the taxpayer. He had a thought that no one else in the history of India has ever had – “Let me give some of my hard-earned money to the government voluntarily.” Maybe he just wanted to feel like a part of the whole “Vikas” story. Who doesn’t want to contribute money to the government, so that it can be spent on useful projects like building the Sardar Patel statue and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue. That is the sole reason any of us want to pay taxes.

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Maybe he was just responding to Modi ji’s call for more entrepreneurs and people who create jobs. When you think about it, that’s what he was doing. The ganja business had created value for every member of the chain – the people in his village who were earning money by selling it, the agents employed to ensure the movement of goods, the ones involved in safeguarding it, and even the college students who bought them to get over their engineering nightmares. I put it to you, if selling pakodas is a job, why can’t selling ganja be a job? Pakodas refresh your mind only for a few minutes, ganja can do it for hours. Without raising your cholesterol.

We all know how exploitative the construction business is and how badly workers are paid. They build roads, bridges, and metros so the country can unlock its dreams but their own dreams might never be fulfilled. Everyone needs a side business – Vijay Mallya makes calendars, Milind Soman acts in his free time, Gurunath Meiyappan is a “cricket enthusiast”, this was maybe his side business. Imagine how little money the gentleman was making from construction that even the people going through his Income Tax returns were like, “How the fuck did a construction worker end up making 40 lakh rupees?”

He had a thought that no one else in the history of India has ever had – “Let me give some of my hard-earned money to the government voluntarily.”

What is perhaps most comical from the entire ordeal is the fact that he is being morally judged by the Income Tax Department. Come on, it’s a bit like Varun Dhawan judging Siddharth Malhotra for his acting skills. Sure, that guy is no Jesus but if he’s a Nokia phone on the corruption scale, then the IT Department is the iPhone X. Things are so bad there that people feel guilty and uncomfortable if they haven’t paid a bribe to get their work done at the IT Department.

As if to add insult to injury, the police raided his house on a Monday morning. Who does that?! Even Monday afternoon knows not to mess around with Monday morning, which is just heartless. Besides, how could they get to Koramangala so quickly on a working day with all the traffic? It’s not even possible. It’s amazing what people can get done when to really want to stick it to somebody. If only such efficiency was present when chasing Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi. The police took away all his stash, cash, and even arrested some of his associates. His life has fallen apart overnight like the Titanic.

One might think he was stupid to file an IT return. Why would he do that? He could have just carried on with his illegal business and no one would ever have known, just like the thousands in this country.

But I have a theory about this. I think he is on to something here. He is probably giving up a small battle so he can win the larger war. He is aiming for the stars. If he didn’t have a criminal record against his name, could he ever become a politician and be elected to Parliament some day? My guess is, not.

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