The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lalu’s daughter hits LIC jackpot

New Delhi, Nov. 5: Riteish Deshmukh shines in Bollywood and the babalog brigade in Parliament. Yet, for politicians’ offspring, nothing can beat a career launch as an insurance agent.

Lalu Prasad’s third daughter Ragini proved that this week, becoming a crorepati on her first day as an LIC agent.

The 22-year-old engineering graduate cut her teeth in the normally punishing profession by bringing in business of Rs 15 crore for her regional office at New Friends Colony here.

Her commission was nearly Rs 1.5 crore, Life Insurance Corporation sources said, adding that this came through a “single big deal”.

A source close to Ragini, who uses only one name, said this was just the first of many jumbo deals the railway minister’s daughter has lined up.

“So many people want to oblige her father. Besides, the proximity of company affairs minister Prem Chand Gupta to Lalu Prasad is no secret. Ragini is extremely fortunate since she can use the contacts of both.”

An LIC official refused to identify the client who bought the Rs 15-crore policy, but said: “It’s an individual and not a company. He is a Delhi-based businessman.”

The deal was cleared at the LIC’s highest level, that is, its central office in Mumbai. “Just about two per cent of our deals are this big,” the official said.

LIC sources claimed that no rules were bent to grant Ragini the agent’s licence, and that all the regular checks were run on her client.

“All his income-tax returns were scrutinised, and an LIC senior divisional manager personally visited him to satisfy himself about his credentials. A “moral hazard report” (which analyses the probability of loss because of an applicant’s personal habits or morals) was filed and a medical test conducted,” the official said.

“The client possessed an excellent portfolio and there was no reason to deny him the cover through Ragini, who is our newest agent.”

Ragini was unavailable for comment but sources close to her failed to understand the fuss.

“Yes, she is a qualified engineer (from the Birla Institute of Technology in Mesra, Ranchi) and she can go back to the profession anytime in life. Now that she is in a position to exploit her contacts as an LIC agent and make some money, it would be foolish of her not to do it,” a family source said.

The young woman had earlier been in the news last December when her batchmate and “good friend” Abhishek Mishra’s body was recovered from Ranchi’s Dasham waterfalls where they had been picnicking with two other friends.

Whatever the stereotype of an LIC agent, many well-connected people have used their contacts to sell insurance policies.

Raj Kapoor’s daughter Ritu Nanda, who married into the industrialist Nanda family, has been an LIC agent for almost 25 years.

“Ritu Nanda may be using her connections to sell lucrative policies but she is a serious LIC agent. She has not used it as a short-term measure to make money,” an LIC official said.

“Whenever there is a function of LIC agents, she makes it a point to attend it and sits among the other agents. She never expects special treatment,” the official said.

Many people do join the profession for a time till something better comes along. “Even a politician like A.K. Antony was an LIC agent in his college days,” a source said.

The LIC has 20 lakh agents, including two lakh in Delhi, sources said.

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