With a gargantuan population, largest democracy and poor political structure, India is one of the resource rich countries that has seen some extremely confounding scams. Most of us seem to know about the COALGATE, 2G Spectrum scam, still under futile investigation, let’s take a look a some other scams that have had massive economic ramifications in the country.
Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh
Harshad Mehta was a Gujrati broker or so-called middle-man who used to work with several banks to gain the confidence of the management. Back in 1990s, Indian banking system had several loopholes. His main task was to manipulate the stock market of Bombay Stock Exchange and earn huge profit. To understand this simply, there is something called ‘Bank receipt’ which is issued by a bank as an instrument of payment. Using a ready forward deal, Mehta and his associates used this tactic to lure small banks like Bank of Karad, Mumbai and the Metropolitan Co-Operative Bank. The ultimate cynosure of the whole scam is this. He got fake bank receipts issued by these small banks and received money from other banks as a loan (assuming that they were lending over government securities). When this was noticed by some banks, they were bamboozled and staggered. This mindless swindle was exposed and around 72 criminal and 600 civil offence suits were filed against him. With several banks losing on immense money, this came to be known as India’s worst financial scam.
Ketan Parekh was another genius manipulator and broker who inflated stock prices in the wake of booming technology industry that has hyperventilated the stock market. With a high-profile life surrounded by business magnates and politicians, KP was always entrusted by them given his extraordinary broking skills. He has also used ‘BENAMI’ transactions in the name of poor Mumbai dwellers to earn huge profit.
Both these scams were exposed to the world by a distinguished columnist Sucheta Dalal. While Mehta was jailed and is no more, Ketan Parekh is barred from share market until 2017.
Lalu Yadav’s Fodder Scam
Lalu Yadav, an aggressive politician popular for bringing “jungle raaj” in Bihar for several years. His methods of causing unbelievable loss to the public exchequer, blatant micro-management of bureaucrats and raging criminal activities are not hidden from India. This incident was one of the finest examples of audacious loot of the government’s money actually meant for the Animal Husbandry department. He being the kingpin, reportedly Rs. 25 billion were siphoned off from the fund meant for fodder, medicines and other assistance to be given to the State’s livestock. Exposed, caught, charge-sheeted and what else, although RJD chief is barred from elections, one of the most corrupt politician of India roams freely and is still a leading political figure.
Defamed for being one of the most backward countries in terms of diverse sports, which is a shameful irony given the huge population, India received an auspicious chance to host the mega event of Commonwealth Games. With a flabbergasting amount of Rs. 70,000 crore, the fund embezzlement was done beneath the nose of the then UPA government. The game that hosts 54 countries and their teams, was maligned by startling scandals and revelations. This International Sporting event saw slow working, poor maintenance and did not live upto the standard expectations.The Chairman of Organising Committee, also a Congress member Suresh Kalmadi was main accused, accompanied by some popular figures such as Delhi CM Shiela Dikshit, National Son-in law Robert Vadra, JAYPEE Group, MTNL, HCL Infosystems and several other entities. With such high-profile businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats involved, this scam was exposed by CAG. Facing humiliations on a global scale, this incident highlighted the terribly-worrying hegemony of the people in power. Although caught, Suresh Kalmadi continues to be on bail and enjoys all freedom rights. It is a painful irony witnessed in a country resident to almost half of the world’s poor.
The deal was worth Rs. 1437 crores between A.B.Bofors, Sweden and the Government of India in 1986 for the supply of 410 howitzer ammunition to India. The involvement of top-notch leaders, tycoons and administrators, such as the then PM Rajiv Gandhi, Arms Agent Win Chaddha, Former BOFORS chief Martin Adbro, alleged middleman Ottavio Quattrochi and Hinduja brothers who were the UK based proprietors, was a flagrant violation of law. With a dumb-founding estimate of bribery paid to Indian officials and politicians, this case came out as an astounding compromise done with the defence of our country. With CBI being a laggard in the investigation, this scam was a shameful one that highlighted the extent of corruption possible. After this case, the clean, honest and pro-welfare image of Rajiv Gandhi was in tatters, also was held responsible for election defeat of Indian National Congress.
Telgi Stamp Paper scams
It is no less than a divine mistake where stamp paper counterfeiting can be consequential in a scam worth Rs. 20,000 crore touching 12 Indian states. The mastermind Karim Abdul Telgi was more of a genius crook than a conventional criminal. His imitations were being sold to share-broking organizations, financial and insurance institutions. Another interesting fact associated with this scam is the alleged unresponsiveness of the Special Investigation Team backed by powerful politicians. Only after social activist Anna Hazare filed a PIL against this sensational crime, no proper actions were taken even after knowing them. The stamp duplicates were made with involvement of immoral Indian Security Press officials. Telgi was caught and slapped heavy charges and thus this scam adds to the glory of other unscrupulous scams of India.