Scam Through Corporate Mirror

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Abstract:

In 327 B.C., Alexander the Great remarked on the Indians as people who cannot tell a lie. Much water has flowed down the river Indus since then. In two consecutive millennium, the river Indus has witnessed how one after another scams blotted her either bank. Today scam is a household name in this subcontinent. And it is all pervasive. Consider any field of activity; scam will make their malicious presence felt in there. Once adoption of this golden egg laying practice had been the politicians’ monopoly. But, these days it is the apple of everyone’s eye. And corporate are also invited.

On 6th August, 1945, a black dot came down from the sky over Hiroshima to wipe out the entire population of an Island. Similarly on 7th January, 2009, one such black drop splashed on Indian bourses when Sri Ramalinga Raju’s so called confession brought about a tsunami in Indian Financial Ocean. Sensex tanked down like a house built with playing cards and Nifty bleeded like anything. Billions of dollars across the globe that harboured on Indian coast through the routes of ADRs, GDRs, FCCBs and what not have merged along with Satyam to come out with a beat of copper. This picture, however, depicts the scenery of Indian Investor with same mundane and vividness. The price of Satyam Computer shares fell from an eye popping Rs 1,200 to something - nothing to write back home about.

In a bid to express more and more closeness to nature, I wonder, the western ladies leave enough room in the outfits for the sun or the moon to see fair portion of their body. And their counterpart, DESHI girls, leave no stone unturned to prove: they are 2nd to none. What we intend to speak the earth rotates from west to east. And in this way viruses floated all the way from Enron to Satyam. 

 

HOME TRUTH

So far our knowledge goes; “Utkoch” is a Sanskrit word. Utkoch means bribe. So, from the days of Sanskrit speaking corruption in the form of bribery or kickback had been concurrent in this sub-continent. What Alexander the Great could observe, formed only the superficial part of our motherland. Pity – isn’t it? Hence, commenting on scams is nothing new but, old wine in new bottle – so to speak.

There’s no denying the fact, the Ganga at Gangotri is in her most pristine form but as she rolls down her last leg to the Bay of Bengal she becomes maili, so is the state of Indian behavioral pattern. The great conqueror of history might find everything above board, he had the least idea how corruption and shortage of resources made the great poet Kalidasa wrote Mudraraksham.

ABC ABOUT SCAM

Perhaps the conflict in between yes and no is obvious from day one of civilization. According to history, Vedas preached a simple livelihood, whereas Charvacian Theory let us know: hrinang krityaa, ghritam pivet! Perhaps, the latter motto paved the way to consumption. In course of time, consumption itself proved to be the yardstick to measure haves and have-not’s. And the latter’s pursuit for the former is relentless. It is found often this pursuit serve as the mother of corruption. In today’s world, the corruption has been christened as scam.

SPRING BOARD

Henceforth, so many scams have been unearthed but to find the actual culprit involved is to find needle from the haystock so to speak. Strictly speaking it’s a never ending process that in course of time proved to be boon for the media persons. Nobody else! People loved to savour the taste of a new scam for a couple of weeks, for a couple of fortnight, for a couple of month. There ends the matter. The media across the country look for another scam to come into light so that they can cater into the bread and butter of each ABC on Indian street. As I have already mentioned corruption or financial malpractices had been concurrent in ancient ages, and ways and means to curb them is on, but despite all the attempts or pretentious gestures from the authorities end could yield nothing but making scams an almost bi-monthly affairs. Of course the men in white (please make no mistake in this present article of ours we are not indicating men in white robes, because their corruption knows no bounds) had been the sole proprietor of scams in post independent era. One C.R. Irani died a martyr’s dead in chasing Bofors’ gun. But the fact remains, the beneficiaries of the kickback are at large. A Prime Minister is gone. Ashok Leyland still rolls on from their stables and there’s no speed breaker on the way.

PIONEER I

Once Indian Industry was recognized as slow moving Asian Elephant. Gone are those days, so went away the monopoly of a few families known as Industrialists. With the advent of Reliance Industries into the foray, so many industries followed suit in course of time. Now speaking of corruption, it is all pervasive. So from the domain of politics it took almost no time to make its presence felt in this corporate arena. Right from the days of Reliance Industries, capital market (commonly known as share market) caught everybody’s attention. The Indians, either to satisfy with a few bits of copper, rolled their eyes in surprise how money get doubled, tripled… so on with this tool called share market. Evidently, a streamline of money flowed from common man’s pocket to the Indian benchmark index called Sensex. Scam was just lurking. One fine morning Sensex tanked down to the awe and horror of each Indians like a pack of cards. One Harshad Mehta was caught. Hardly any Harshad-Mehta-maker was caught. Even today despite the intimidating eyes of SEBI, stock market and scams have got a relationship of a river and her high and low tide.

SCAM DHIN-DHINA-DHIN

As we have already discussed scams have been part and parcel of capital market. Be it Black Monday or Golden Friday, the black stain of manipulation is felt. Most recently the prices of Welspun Gujarat, K.S. Oil, Akruti Citi, etc. were rigged by a broker house and the total game was of more than Rs 500 crores. The case was reported in the Economic Times on Dec 2, 2010. Revisiting the case is nothing but to come to the conclusion that there are so many Harshad Mehta’s or Ketan Parekh’s across this sub-continent these days. Who can forget how Maruti Udyog Ltd.’s equity share got blocked into some hands while going through the IPO. Again how Centurion Bank of Punjab got involved in Reliance Power IPO and incurred a huge loss while the price of Reliance Power shares dwindled on Indian bourses like anything could earn everyone’s frown. India is a land of endless diversity. Only one thing can integrate the entire nation; culture – be it music or dance of scams round the year!

RETURN OF THE DRAGON

On 18th May, 2009 the Indian Benchmark Index hit the upper circuit twice in a row before one could utter Jack Robinson properly. An appreciation of 20 percent in a single day since 500 thousand crores revenue to the Government. Hence, it can easily be understood what the turnover had been like on that day. It is to be noted that the maximum concentration of trade was in the future and option segment rather the cash segment was poor in comparison with the former one. The euphoria could easily be read. On this very day the congress led coalition assumed office second time in a row. From the behavioural pattern it remains an open book that easily came neither from FII pocket, nor from FI pocket, but a little bit from the DII pocket and what about the rest? Was it the dragon’s money? Did it come through the pipelines of Bofors gun and Mirage 2000, 3000 or MIG series aircraft? The technical analysts of the stock markets are of the opinion that did the market hit the upper circuit once; it is most likely to hit the lower circuit thrice in a row. So, three more scams are very much on the card. Only time can tell who should be the cherry pickers.

FAIRY TALE

In between heaven and earth, there is an ancient land. Once there was a queen – so dedicated! But for an apology of the letter “R”, the country has got every letter from the queen. In course of time, the queen got married to someone whose religion was converted like the convertible debentures into queen’s father religion with the help of a half naked monk. Soon followed marital activity. Reproduction is a natural process – everyone knows it. In this activity the queen became the mother of two sons. However, the puppet king doubted his own credibility and gave the onus to the then king maker. Two princes - two great “V’s”! The elder one went to explore the sky and the younger one went to explore the earth. In latter course, the younger one proved to be smarter to grab so many cars that overnight this V change with the touch of yellow fever. Now he was no more ***jeev but became ***jay, it had been a car scam. Fairy queen however gave away her last drop of blood for the sake of the country or she was constrained to do so still shrouds in mystery.

a-G, o-G, lo-G, suno-G

G for genius – stands for the catch line of Parle-G. Atleast Aamir Khan teaches us so. Perfectionist! Anyone who enters this G – arena is a genius undoubtedly. There are so many gradations in G; 1-G, 2-G, 3-G, chacha-G, mata-G …… I often fancy G should stand for Gurughantal (the black sheep)! However, it is the military technicalities that get deployed in producing and maintaining radar. Hence, whenever any G passes from military to civilian hands, it needs a yes-nod from the military big-wigs. Of late, (one plus one) G proved itself to be the eye of a cyclone that hit Indian economic coasts and took a toll of more than Rs 1.76 lakh crores. A king (please read the Indian version of this English word) was checkmated. But who is there to find out the player beyond this chess board. How many defence officials have been interrogated till date in this connection? Now let us take a look through different outlook. India with her vastness in area and population beckon so many telecom players; Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, Idea, RIM, Docomo, MTS… to count the list. Despite the presence of so many players in the ground, the field is till empty. Only 60 percent (at best) of our population have been connected through mobile telephony. Here it is to be noted, the city and urban sector one individual carries more than one cell phone along with him or her. Hence, the profession of people either to endowed with a wireless interacting box can hardly make 40 percent of the entire population. It is obvious, 60 percent headroom is left in. So in the coming one decade mobile telephony has got a guarantee of steady 10 percent appreciation each year. Needless to say, this universe is really flowing with milk and honey. Let us see how many A. Raja’s and B. Rani’s are there……?

LOOKING BACK

On a fine December morning, the newspapers across the sub-continent brought forward one of the bleakest headlines that spoke about the plight and spasms of tens of thousands of Indians in Madhya Pradesh. It was the night of 2-3rd December 1984. Much water has flown down the bridge since then. Many died instantly. Next several thousands died in a week’s time. Whoever survived is left to crawl on the breast of mother earth. According to Madhya Pradesh government, the data’s stand like this:  a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release; others estimate 3,000 died within weeks and another 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 5,58,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary, partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries. Was this catastrophe less lethal than Hiroshima and Nagasaki Disasters? Since dawn of life, we have seen human chains and rallies in Kolkata (if I am not incorrect: for the rest of India the motto is raat gaye baat gaye) against this uncivilized, barbaric US assault in Japan. Again in his last public speech, Rabindra Nath Tagore described it as a crisis in civilization. We count such blot on civilization as SERIOUS CONSPIRACY AGIANST MANKIND (SCAM). The proprietors of US based company Union Carbide, fed themselves on the fat of Methyl Isocyanate and left an obnoxious, suffocating, most lethal MIC gas for the hapless resident of Bhopal. Whatever chicken feed amount was given in the name of compensation is nothing but an insultation on humanity. MERA BHARAT MAHAN! My India is great. Even to let the murderers of Bhopal Gas Tragedy leave this country. Was it the greatness of this land or the greatness of this administration in lieu of some hush-hush kickbacks? Once again Union Carbide is in the limelight. This time it is going to be the official sponsor of OLYMPIC 2012. With due humility, may this article question the moral and ethical standards of Olympic Committee? Unfortunately, once more we are to write “SCAM” as the answer. What a pity!

RAJU BAN GAYA GENTLEMAN

Mere Desh ki Dharti

Agricultural scientists have the say: overexploitation of a piece of land makes it barren little by little, else the quality of the yield detoriates like anything. In our individual experiences too, we found how the tasty boiled rice became just agreeable to stomach and not to tongue these days. We have seen Maharashtra giving birth to great children like Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Nana Phadnavis, Sakharam Ganesh Devkar, Lokmanya Tilak, …… Today she gives birth to so many – under the sun and under the earth. One thing is very certain about Maharashtra: they have got the inborn talent of leadership. Be it master blaster or bomb blaster. Even when they rebuild the atmosphere of exodus today of a certain community, they proved they are second to none. When they abuse the poor bread seekers of a certain province as bimari they recreate the history. One of the brave hearts from their stable has come these days to the capital city for a week long or month long concert. Of course it is for good reason but the reason is supposed to do good only to the rockstars. For one great writer of this soil Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once remarked: The quack treatment for a deep seeded disease doesn’t yield result.

Macarena …… aaa … aa …. aaa

Forwarded messages have got a telling effect amongst the youngsters. Of course, love messages got the lion share. Having said that, what this sincerely of yours intend to say that these days people forgot even to think. Dear me! Forwarded text messages both on mobile and e-mail ids are doing the rounds. One such message has the say: One bullock cart driver was made the king of a certain land; he married someone with hush-hush background from a distant land; both king and queen cheated the country men and deposited all the cheated money in a bunker which no bunker buster (Uncle Sam’s firework) can ever unearth. The e-mail claimed the data came right from the horse’s mouth. The e-mail in question somehow makes the streets of capital city to put on the look of the most populous country where chaotic confusion reigns. With due respect and humility, this sincerely salutes the spirit of this long march towards Tiananmen Square (civil war). One thing is there – no one can deny how the poor bullock cart driver became the king and a perfect gentleman in front of his countrymen. Truly inspiring …..   

…… Deshi Abhi Baki Hain

On 7th January 2009, CNBC TV 18 host, Udayan Mukherjee put on a grave face. Believe me his facial expression reminded us black thunder which was supposed to be one of the reason of the ruin of Harappan civilization. Addressing his co-host he tried a baritone voice to read out the script, the then Chairman of Satyam Computers, B. Ramalinga Raju had composed. Confession! Honest Confession of a great cheat. Here are some fragments of that great confession:

  1. The Balance Sheet carries as of September 30, 2008,
  2. a) Inflated (non-existent) cash and bank balances of Rs 5,040 crore (as against Rs 5,361 crore reflected in the books);
  3. b) An accrued interest of Rs 376 crore, which is non-existent
  4. c) An understated liability of Rs 1,230 crore on account of funds arranged by me;
  5. d) An overstated debtors' position of Rs 490 crore (as against Rs 2,651 reflected in the books);
  6. For the September quarter (Q2) we reported a revenue of Rs 2,700 crore and an operating margin of Rs 649 crore (24 per cent of revenue) as against the actual revenues of Rs 2,112 crore and an actual operating margin of Rs 61 crore (3 per cent of revenues). This has resulted in artificial cash and bank balances going up by Rs 588 crore in Q2 alone.
  7. That in the last two years a net amount... of Rs 1,230 crore was arranged to Satyam (not reflected in the books of Satyam) to keep the operations going by resorting to pledging all the promoter shares and raising funds from known sources by giving all kinds of assurance .

So the total scam size was Rs 7,000 crores. In comparison with other scams, it’s a mere beggar’s description! What we got to learn that Ramalingam Raju proved his potency to be a gentlemen, we talked about.

Posted by: Soumendra Roy. in Finance | Date: 05/04/2016

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