Murali Raghavan, author of ‘Riding the De(Mon)’, talks about demonization and his thriller about it
‘Riding the De(Mon)’ by Murali Raghavan (Leadstart Publishing) is a financial thriller that delves into money laundering in India, in particular the methods used by corrupt businessmen and politicians to funnel their ill-gotten gains into the banking system, publish the Surprise Demonetization Announcement.
Raghavan, an Indian cost and chartered accountant based in the United Arab Emirates, weaves a brilliant story of big money and crime. ‘Riding the De(Mon)’ is a perfect choice for fans of Paul Erdman and Ravi Subramanian.
The book comes via Script A Hit (www.scriptahit.com), a platform that helps people turn ideas into books and scripts. “Script A Hit is proud to announce the release of his first book Riding the De(mon), a financial thriller. We plan to release at least five books this year, selected from hundreds of ideas we’ve received,” said Jaishankar Krishnamurthy, Script A Hit founder, author and finance professional.
Raghavan said: “Never in my dreams would I have imagined myself as an author. In 2016, we spent a lot of time debating the impact of demonetization on the common man and challenging the government assumption on this issue. Discussions dragged on, and in 2020, I simply decided to take that leap of faith and submitted a synopsis of the idea to www.scriptahit.com.
“The novel has been written after much research into the methods used by people with ill-gotten wealth to deposit their black money in banks and the vulnerabilities around cash deposit data that exist even today. It is a must-read for finance professionals and curious minds interested in whether the Government made any real substantial gains from the surprise announcement.”
‘Riding the De(Mon)’ is the story of a presumed innocent banker, a religious leader accused of murder, a journalist looking for more than just the next big story, and a plot to use demonetization to bring down a government.
Young, smart, once with a promising career ahead of him, Vikram is in Chennai jail. He is accused of defrauding more than ten million rupees from Bharat Bank, where he worked in the IT department. Although he insists on his innocence, the evidence is against him and Vikram seems doomed to spend the best years of his life in prison, unless he accedes to a strange request from a lawyer representing an anonymous client. .
Trapped in jail with no chance of release, Vikram agrees, only to be plunged back into the world of corporate espionage and government corruption and intrigue, a bank run, and murder.
Ashwini, an investigative financial reporter, stumbles upon the methods used to circumvent the rules imposed by the Reserve Bank of India during the demonetization of India.
Vikram crosses paths with Ashwini in his quest to expose the web of corruption between people with mountains of money to hide and the unethical ways they invent to hide it.
But Ashwini’s real investigation is into the man known as “Guruji”, Vikram’s fellow inmate and possibly his only friend from his time in jail, whom she believes to be the cause of her sister’s death.
Will Vikram be able to swim against these murky tides to secure his freedom, from jail and from the clutches of his benevolent blackmailer? Will Ashwini ever find out what really happened to his sister? And what is Guruji’s dark secret, which seems to hold the key to many mysteries?
Raghavan, based in the United Arab Emirates for 29 years, is a co-founder of the company CFOSME, which enables SMEs to streamline their cash operations with enhanced financial ecosystems. His experience with multinational companies in retail and wholesale distribution, IT, real estate and hotel development, risk management and insurance (financial advisor) gives him a wide range of skills and experience.
Here are their answers to some questions from Governance Now by email:
Demonization is still in conversations and discussions, what is your opinion about it?
The surprise announcement of demonetization had a huge impact on the parallel economy in India, which according to some estimates is equal to the official one. While there were difficulties the country faced after the announcement, the ubiquitous use of the digital payments industry, which was a necessity at the time, has now become the norm. While the initial arguments against the demonetization that brought the real estate sector to a standstill and led to its contraction were valid, it is now becoming clearer that the benefits of the almost universal adaptation of digital payments, which was a necessity, are now They far outweigh the initial pain. the whole country passed. My personal opinion is that while the government did not reap the anticipated benefits, India as a country will see the benefits of digital payments for a long time to come.
Why did you choose to write a thriller about corruption and demonization?
We were all shocked by the surprise announcement of demonetization in November 2016. I used to debate among friends the government benefits of this announcement with strong arguments from both sides. Initially, there were estimates that the RBI would have a windfall of Rs 4 lakh crore as many corrupt people with lots of black cash would risk losing the money before depositing it in their bank accounts and face the wrath of officials. of you. However, when it was announced in late 2017 that over 99.6% of the notes had been deposited, I continued to watch corrupt businessmen and politicians dispose of their ill-gotten riches. My mind returned to this idea over and over again until I started writing notes on this topic.
I was looking for answers to two main questions: (1) How did corrupt businessmen and politicians funnel their ill-gotten wealth into the banking system after the surprise demonetization announcement? (2) Can data from deposit records made during the demonetization period be analyzed and used for blackmail or to bring down governments? I submitted a short synopsis to www.scriptahit.com which helped turn the idea into a financial thriller. More importantly, his research has helped answer important questions about money laundering before and after demonetization.
How do you perceive the current situation regarding the effect of demonetization on the digitization of monetary transactions?
As I mentioned earlier, India is one of the few countries that has become truly cashless and also mobile. As an NRI, I have traveled to various countries and feel that the ease of transaction through digitization in India is spectacular and has reduced transaction costs. More importantly, it has helped the section of people who never had access to credit cards to make transactions without fear.
You weave the story through Vikram, the central character who is a banker trying to expose the corruption during demonetization. How much of this comes from real life incidents and people? What research went into the book?
Once the idea was accepted, Script a Hit worked on the idea for several months, drawing up a detailed synopsis. While the basic premise was my idea, they added several layers to the story and many new plot lines to create a financial thriller that can’t be beat. They used their own research team when talking to CAs about the methods used by people to route their wealth back into the system. His team also talked to IT banking security specialists to find a plausible way for the protagonist to hack into the banking system to download records. When I read the book now, it gives me great insights into money laundering that I was not aware of as a finance professional.
The story is entirely fictional and is not based on a real businessman or politician.
There is also the participation of a religious leader, accused of murder and at the center of all the inventions to hide lots of money. What triggered this plot and influenced the drawing of the character?
The Script a Hit team decided to add some layers to the synopsis by introducing the character of a religious leader. I felt that was quite realistic considering the number of religious leaders in the past and now and the powerful influence and wealth that many have managed to amass. Who doesn’t like to read about the complex web of lies between a guru, politicians, women and a corrupt social organization?