Media & Affiliates Heightened Risk Category for KYC

Greed is not a moral issue; it’s a financial issue.

With the advent of electronic media and constant bombardment of TV channels, everyone has been made aware of the high profile “Sheena Bora” murder case. Yes, synonymous with Indrani-Peter-Rahul Mukherjea.

What transpired into the ‘alleged’ murder of Sheena, daughter of Indrani is confusing even to the probe agencies involved. Sadly, the case has been a source of big gossip among the hoity-toity and bad taste humor across social media platforms.
What led to the murder and the mysterious family tree of the Mukherjea family is not the issue discussed in this article. What is revealed now by the probe agency CBI is clear, there is a financial angle involved to the murder, Mens Rea: Purpose of the crime as they say?

MRP’s the new class of Heightened Risk Profile of Customers?

MRP: Media Related Personnel.
KYC requirements enumerated by Reserve Bank of India require “tagging” of client profile; CRC (Customer Risk Categorization) on the various factors. This categorization would be during Customer on-boarding and we reviewed periodically. The high risk categories of customers include HNI (High Net Worth Individuals), persons with dubious reputation, NPO’s (Non Profit Organization), PEP (Politically Exposed Person), etc.
The recent case of NDTV being involved in a brawl, accusations in the Nira Radia tapes; the Zee News-Jindal episode has left media in a bad taste. When Political people, people in prominent positions and doing high risk businesses like arms are subjected to higher screening, I would hope media is also put under the same EDD (Enhanced Due Diligence) measures.

What particularly interests me, is that Indrani Mukherjea was a media promoter once. The INX media with its hosts of channels is the brain child of Indrani and her husband, Peter Mukherjea. The duo later exited the company. With the murder of Sheena, estranged relationships between the people, murkier financial details have caught the attention of CBI. There seems to be a money trail running into millions with outflow of funds abroad.

Alert issued by FIU IND

The Financial Intelligence Unit, New Delhi; India’s Central Repository for collection of relevant financial information and dissemination to various agencies has issued an alert in the case of Sheena Bora.

Indian & Foreign banks have been called upon to verify their records and report any suspicious transactions. As a part of our due diligence, we verified the accuracy of PAN quoted using the searchpan engine.

The initiative taken by FIU IND is laudable. Just hope the agencies involved are “pro-active” in other cases of economic offences-financial crimes or otherwise important national security issues and seek details from various reporting entities*. With quick access of information, establishing trail and evidence gathering can be supported, which would speedy the disposal of cases.
Also, it would be wiser on the part of regulators to issue guidelines to financial institutions to notify, media and media related personnel as “High Risk Category Customers”, which would facilitate enhanced screening and monitoring. We consider media as a watchdog and a pillar of democracy, it’s time they be brought under purview of additional screening like other high risk business.

Biznexxus, which compiles the information about the heightened risk entities provide the special report on the Media related Individuals and can be accessed here.

*Reporting entities are banks, insurance companies, financial institutions and intermediaries as per PMLA.
Note: The opinions expressed by in the article are in the author’s personal capacity. The reader can provide feedback at

Amit Retharekar is a banker by profession. He has extensively worked in co-operative banking sector in India for more than a decade. He is a Certified Anti Money Laundering Expert. He also is the Certified Trade Based Money Laundering Expert and has witnessed the walk through of this course hands on. He recommends this course for AML professionals to have a deeper understanding on TBML subject.