The nexus between big business and politicians in the loot of public money in India is too well known to require elaboration. Take the case of Reliance. It is a business house which, when compared to its peers, has been the focus of the maximum number of controversies, court cases, investigations etc. It has the additional dubious distinction of being featured the maximum number of time in the questions asked in Parliament.
Of course, Reliance has come, One way or the other, to own three percent of the GDP within a short period of thirty years. The questions is: How?
And this question has been answered in this book. A perusal of the text of the parliamentary debates makes it very hard to come to any conclusion other than that the brightest of our parliamentarians were involved in a cover up for Reliance in a clear cut case of corruption.
Corruption is easily buried in India: files vanish, honest officers are transferred, some nominal fining takes place and criminal offences are compounded. However, concealment is not achieved quite so effortlessly at the international level.
And then again, being caught once – even one single time – would have been fatal to Reliance. It would have been blacklisted by the government and treated as an economic pariah.
The universally admired and very sharp and articulate parliamentarians, Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Kapil Sibal, both seemed quite blind to the fact of the bribe paid by Reliance. Or did these two illustrious and famously intelligent gentlemen cover up for Reliance.?
And yet, there was a time when Mr. Chidambaram was honourable enouth to resign where he had done no wrong over his controversial investment in Fairgrowth Financial Services. One wonders whether he will act honourably once again, and resign – for the omission of the commissions. One wonders if any of his honourable colleagues – the Members of Parliament – will ask for his resignation? If the common man has lost faith in all politicians, it is because the best and the brightest have flattered to deceive.
The book is also about the loot of the oil wealth – more precious than gold – of the country and about all the other kinds of loot and tainted questions over which the name of Reliance seems to mysteriously loom.
The book has been written in the hope that those in power and the media will be at least a little embarrassed and will not let facts of extremely ugly bribery tiptoe past them so very easily in the future. After all, there's no harm in hoping.
The author is a lawyer and a financial activist. Having learnt about how the financial world functions during his ten-year stint with State Bank of India, he has successfully used the knowledge in campaigning against various financial frauds.
Issues of the stock market relating to preferential allotment of shares to multinationals at massive discount to market price, mutual funds reforms and broker-dominated stock exchange market reforms were among th diverse issues agiated by the author through Public Interest Litigations (PILs)
The author's PIL against the 1000 MW Cogentrix Power Project in Karnataka resulted in the company abandoning the project. It was a company with a capital forty lac rupees and debt equity ratio of 20:1 which was awarded the project without any competitive bidding, with inflated capital cost and dollar denominated tariff with guaranteed purchase of power for thirty years. A comparison of the costs of the newly awarded power projects with competitive biding would show that thousands of crores of public money was saved. Ten years lost in sanction of new projects due to a power policy which encouraged corruption and companies like Enron and Cogentrix.
The author played a crucial role in preventing the transfer of a highly profitable hydroelectric project 'Almatti Power Project' in Karnataka to the private sector. The dam had built with public money but the power project was being handed to the private sector. It was a classic case of the costs being billed to the public and the profits being pocketed by the corporate sector.
He was also responsible, as a consultant to Prasar Bharti, for unearthing the telecast scan which established that India was the main contributor to the telecast revenue and Prasar Bharati had been short changed by hundreds of crores. The unearthing of the telecast scam finally led to the auctioning of the telecast rights of 1999 World Cup, by the Bombay High Court, resulting in Prasar Bharrati benefiting by over Rs 20 crores. It also led to CBI raid on Jagmohan Dalmiya and other key players involved in the scam.
An expose by the author, of a fraudulent company called Southern Herbals – a favourite of the stock market punters-claiming itself to be engaged in manufacture of anti-cancer drug ended in the company going bankrupt.
The author has successfully defended three defamation suits and in one of them was awarded exemplary damage of Rs 25,000.
The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Table Of Contents
- 1. The Scam
- 2. The Cookie Crumbles
- 3. The Commission of Omissions
- 4. The Law and the Law-Makers
- 5. The Minions of Law
- 6. And the Fourth Estate
- 7. The Reliance Saga
- 8. The Lok Sabha Debate
- 9. The Rajya Sabha Debate
- 10. Pathak Report Extracts