"Is-se to peene ke paani ka bhi daam nahin nikalna" (This post will not give enough to cover the cost of water)," Railway Board Member Mahesh Kumar (seen here), who is now behind bars, is heard telling Vijay Singla, the nephew of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Kumar is desperate to 'move up' from his 'worthless' position of Member (staff) to the plum post of Member (electrical).
So desperate that he's willing to pay Rs 10 crore for it.
The case is still under investigation, but the Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, says Kumar was eyeing this post because he would get to handle projects worth thousands of crores.
In this one sentence, Kumar inadvertently exposes the core of the country's kickback economy, the unholy nexus between businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats.
Text: Veenu Sandhu and T E Narasimhan, Business Standard
Cartoons: Satish Acharya,
Images: AP and Reuters