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Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweat Love Story - Part 1

Each day I wake up I realise I’m totally out of sync with this tech-age; that I’m not fashionable. It’s just a few years ago I learned that PDA stood for ‘Personal Digital Assistant’. So when Sunanda Pushkar (SP) told NDTVI don't know. I can only say it's very sad that in a country like ours that they don't believe in PDA because the point is we are a country...” I was totally flummoxed. I was wondering what a stupid PDA had to do with her defence of the ‘50Crs GF’ tag or Shashi Tharoor. Thankfully, Sunetra Chaudhary quickly clarified that SP’s PDA means “Public Display of Affection”. These things keep changing faster than I can learn. And hold on, I did go to a convent school for a few years of my primary education. You know, we were taught about cows and dogs.. as in 'domestic animals’. In some exams we even loved drawing pictures of animals. But hell, that convent never taught me what “cattle class” was. And SP insists only those who went to a convent school would understand that. I’m now wondering if it’s a good idea to ‘sue’ my school.

So this Sunanda was on all the English channels and all the ballerinas in the news channels were shocked over the 50Cr GF comment and how it was ‘sexist’ and an insult to ‘womankind’. All very nice! But it doesn’t alter the fact that 50 or 70crs of ‘sweat equity’ was the reason why Tharoor was sacked from the ministry earlier. Nothing had changed in between to bring him back. That was a question no news channel wanted to ask. Well, it’s election season in Gujarat so that part can wait. I’ve seen the Bachchan movie “Khoon Pasina” and even heard of the rock-band ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’. Salman Khurshid explained the blood and tears part well. There was his ‘Ink & blood’ comment and then how SoniaG had ‘tears’ in her eyes over the Batla House shoot out.

However, it took the Tharoor-Sunanda duo to bring home the full understanding of ‘Sweat’. Theirs is a true love story as Tharoor indicated in his tweet-back to Narendra Modi. Like PDA this ‘sweat equity’ is also a concept that’s not very old. Start-up companies which don’t have lots of money issue equity shares to people like lawyers, marketers etc. in lieu of cash payments for their services. The shares, of course, are liquid assets like any other. But this sweat can also be misused to reward people as bribes under crony capitalism. And the best place to borrow capitalist concepts from? You guessed it – US of A! Nobody does it better. Every form of economic system or ideology has its evils; or should I say evil people? For instance govt officials handing over land or public facility to a private citizen or entity for a small price and then getting kickbacks. Or buy a piece of land dirt cheap, sweat over it with govt help and then sell it for an extraordinarily high value. I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably thinking Robert Vadra but we’ll get to him later.

In the meantime let’s remember what Swami Vivekanand or even Stephen Covey has talked about many times. Good is difficult to emulate but evil can and will always be exceeded. In other words, it’s hard to pick up good practices or habits but bad habits are usually exceeded from where they were picked up. If one is a smoker, chances are the person is probably now smoking more than the person from whom the habit was picked up. Remember September-October 2008? That’s the time many crony American companies with fake balance sheets and figures, companies with nothing but paper assets crashed. Those included AIG, Merrill Lynch and housing loan companies. While many in the public suffered, the owners or management members of these companies made a killing. The sweat love story is not very different. You’ve heard of Cash4Votes, of Cash4Questions in parliament. Here’s something similar: Kids4Cash. The story is old and also features in Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore.

In the year 2001 a private company in Pennsylvania (PA), US offered their company, PA ChildCare, to replace a county’s Juvenile Detention home and the contract of detentions outsourced to them. The two people who offered this “social service” were as Greg Zappala and attorney Robert Powell. As it happened Powell had a friend in Judge Michael Conahan who shut down the public juvenile facility since it was “run down” and stopped its funding by end 2002. In due course the contract to run the detention centre was handed over the privately run PA ChildCare of Robert Powell. That’s not all; the contract was a $58 Million per year lease. So essentially, Powell’s company built his private detention centres with public money and had an annual lease amount too. Nice, isn’t it? But, that’s not all.

Powell’s company added a sister company to the original PA ChildCare and both started operating juvenile detentions for the govt. Powell’s business of reforming of spoilt brats of PA flourished. He even bought a private jet and yacht that was ironically named “Reel Justice”. Now that the detention business was privatised, more and more kids were convicted for juvenile offences. The number of kids being sent to the detention centres grew, business grew. In a 5 year period Judge Mark Ciavarella (seemingly a partner in crime of Judge Conahan) sentenced an astonishing 6500 kids to Powell’s detention centres. You see, the more kids they sent to the juvenile centres the more the money to the private businessmen. More money to the private businessmen meant … Hmmmm! That’s the beauty!

Both Judges Conahan and Ciavarella received up to $2.6 Mn in kickbacks and bribes. It came to be known as the “Kids for Cash” scandal which broke in 2008. Both judges also didn’t report this income and didn’t pay income tax on it. The case broke just around the time financial markets were crashing in the US. Both judges were prosecuted. On February 18, 2011, following a trial, a federal jury convicted Ciavarella and the prosecutors said the former judge used children "as pawns to enrich himself." On August 11, 2011, Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison as a result of his conviction. On September 23, 2011, Conahan was sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in prison as he pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. On November 4, 2011, Robert Powell was sentenced to 18 months in prison for failing to report a felony and being an accessory to tax conspiracy. Consequent to the frauds all the 6500 convictions by Ciavarella were also overturned. Read more at Juvenile Law Centre site.

There are only two things that separate the crony capitalism of the USA and India. One is that their media, probably equal with India’s in every other way, does not directly support crony capitalism. The other is the Justice system. The US justice system appears to be fair and is definitely far swifter. It is merciless on any criminal regardless of who the person or entity is. Out here, there is an outpouring of tears in the media for Rajat Gupta and he would have probably not been tried for another 25 years even. The concept of sweat equity was originally a good one. But as we keep observing, crony capitalism ensures equity and assets pass to hands without anyone running or breaking into a sweat.

Just about two years ago Sunanda Pushkar was a hounded woman with many media crooks painting her a “vamp”. Now, she is being painted a “victim”. For the media everybody is a victim where it concerns Narendra Modi. In her interviews she goes around saying “there’s no money on the table”. She even quotes from Jerry Maguire and says “show me the money”. Well you see, viewers are either idiots or didn’t attend a convent school to understand that the very reason for “sweat” equity is because the start-up doesn’t have enough cash. Question remains, why exactly was she given that equity for. There’s no evidence she had done anything for the Kochi IPL team, unless it’s a big secret. She didn’t run and break into a sweat. It must have been Kochi’s way of expressing affection. Sweat is thicker than love, it’s priceless

To be continued...


  1. Huge Fan of NaMo and your blog ...but "50CrGF" is a senseless comment that too from person who wants to (and should) be PM ..are you trying to justify it ??

    1. I am wondering if you have listen to the entire speech, if not I would recommend you to do so and figure out yourself...dont think like Rajdeep Sardesai

    2. @Zapper

      Understand your anguish.. but can you point out where exactly in the whole post there is even a remote attempt to defend or justify Modi's comment. The post is not about his comment at all. the "50Cr GF" thing is only one incidental part of the story.

    3. @Zapper, what was so senseless about the "50 crore GF" comment? If Modi had said "500-crore damaad" would you have considered it a senseless comment? Actually, those who think Modi's comment was sexist are the real sexists as they believe that women (GF's) are more special than men and deserve privileges that men (son-in-law's) don't deserve.

      As far as NaMo's PM ambitions are concerned, I think any PM candidate should be willing to speak bluntly against corruption and need not be politically-correct when questioning corrupt practices. I would rather have a PM who makes rude and uncomfortable comments against the corrupt than a 'Maun Mohan Singh' who silently watches the country being looted by his colleagues.

    4. If she was prepared to accept the sweat equity, then she should be prepared to accept any comments and brickbats that go with it. Why did Tharoor marry her in such haste after the controversy broke out? Seems to me more of a marriage of convenience.

    5. @socratuse , you misunderstand me ..I am not saying that just because of one comment NaMo is no longer eligible for PM ...NaMo is an truly development role model...and should be our next PM ...but it does not mean that everything he says is justified....calling somebody's wife a "50CrGF" is senseless and nothing to do with anti corruption no matter how hard to try to explain ...i am not like congress who will follow its leader blindly ....

    6. @zapper, you are repeating what you wrote earlier without explaining how it is senseless. The fact remains that Shashi Tharoor was using his then Girlfriend Sunanda to illegitimately gain equity worth Rs.70 crore. That would have literally made her 'a 70-crore GF', if his devious plan hadn't been exposed by the other Modi on twitter.

      I'm once again asking you, had he called Robber Vadra '500-crore damaad', would you have considered that senseless?

      Becoming wife of ST hasn't bestowed Sunanda Pushkar with a halo of sacredness that we should all bow down to.

    7. So well put Socratuse. Solid and fitting reply to @Zapper. Modi has not said anything wrong in "50crGF".

      Am only wondering which direction will our MSM blow, once BJP & Modiji becomes our PM in 2014 ? Would the media continue to be the lapdog of Congress.
      We have to fix each and every anchor - the likes of AG, Barkha, Rajdeep & the bitch of all - SG & many more.
      Perhaps Modiji should bring in some Media reforms - putting up an Ombudsman / watchdog. And the sentencing for these crooks ought to be swift & min. sentencing should be for 8 to 10 yrs. - as the charge would be as serious as Treason to the nation.

  2. Your reference about American 2008 crash and their cash on balance-sheet says how rich your knowledge is....salute you Mr. Ravi..

  3. I have always liked ur article.I think in this article u are jumpimg from one story to another and trying to make them look same.It would be better if you would have stick to the point how ridiculously media is portraying her as victim.You should have mentioned about this debate here Smriti Irani kinda exposed media hypocrisy in her Hindian style

    1. @Akaash

      You do have a valid point. That's how the post is written. It's not a regular post but a story, that's why it's being written in multiple parts containing a non-linear narrative. I might add.. the story isnt so much about Sunanda but about crony capitalism itself and how our media relates to it. If you ask me, Sunanda's story is hardly interesting without that context. Let's see if the dots connect in the end.

    2. I never watch these debates but thanks for the link. This one was good. There was never any intention of balance just one from BJP and 3-4 on other side.And still she completely blew them out.

  4. Ravi...you keep asking difficult and uncomfortable questions. Poor Sunanda went to all English channels seking much needed succour and solace. But here you are...talking once again about 50cr and Sweat Equity and also propound a new concept of Sweat Love. Isn't that being 'spoil-sport'? And your primary education in convent is no good because you do not Think, Talk or Write like a 'convent educated'. Do you? Your thinking is INDIAN and there lies the rub. Thanks for a wonderful piece once again. Regards - K R Vaishampayan

  5. If there was no sweat equity received then why did Pranab Mukherjee drop Shashi Tharoor from the cabinet (same reason why Bhujbal went on hiberation and then returned to Maharashtra politics and by then Telgi was a vegetable and the stamp paper scam was forgotten). That is the other story: Shashi Tharoor's return. And going by news reports there was no paper trail on the sweat equity...No points for guessing that.

    Modi's only stating the truth what the media is whitewashing on behalf of the masters they serve....

    1. @ED

      No Tharoor & Sunanda dont deny the Sweat Equity part.. They have also confirmed they returned/surrendered the equity they received. The notion that SP is trying to dispel is that Sweat equity constitutes actual "cash on the table". That was never the case, wasnt reported and no one was under that impression. She is just trying to create a veil from it.

    2. My information came from :


      I suppose that is a narrow technical definition for SP to seek refuge and NDTV to justify :)

      Likewise as AG was defending Congress from Swamy's allegations yesterday instead of looking at the assets that get transfered to the family.

      Jai HInd.

  6. Here is a link of Outlook magazine. Now Vinod Mehta criticizing Mr. Modi for his comments. What a double standard.

    1. That was SP that Outlook wrote about. Now VM is defending Mrs. Tharoor. She is the victim of Mr. Modi.


  7. Dear Ravinar,

    The Scumbag Desai had an article on his website cnn-ibn as " After the Gadkari misfire, RSS should leave BJP alone". I was very much amused at the hypocricy of this paidup artist. This very individual & the other media houses targetted Mr Gadkari like a hound dog to deflect the focus from Vadra & Sonia's trips & then in same breath they even lecture RSS to not interfere in BJP. How wonderful. Aag bhi lagao aur nasihat bhi do.

  8. NaMo is a good orator with extensive knowledge of his work as CM of Gujarat. Making such comment (50cr girlfriend) would tarnish his image. However, the Q is when Shashi Tharoor was expelled on the sweat equity issue than why he was again taken back in cabinet?

  9. The papers dutifully reported Tharoor's tweet about SP being worth more than 50Cr, about being "priceless". I hope these words don't come back to haunt him if (God forbid) the alimony amount has to be worked out at some future date.

  10. Ideally, NaMo should have tactfully stayed away from commenting on a "Wife". He ought to have known how the media would cleverly twist it and give it a sexist slant, rather than look at the merit of his hint.

    Now that he has already opened the topic, then atleast he should give an apt retort to all those Sunanda Pushkar soundbytes that the media guys were lapping up...... else the sexist image could stick for a long time, You know how these media guys keep repeating these at odd occasions (remember the Vajpayee "raj dharma" half-quote?)

  11. No matter what u say,this time I donot agree with u. It was a tasteless comment which even looked worse frm a person who cud b the future prime minister.
    U cannot defend it even if ur intention was not to.

    1. Dear Pankaj,

      What would you say about "Maut Ke Saudagar" comment by SG and "Mass Murderer" comment by Rajdeep Sardesai?

  12. How do you feel if somebody whom you blindly trust cheats you?

  13. There you go. Rajdeep and the so-called liberal media at it again - creating false equivalencies.

    When Congress gets caught with a big scam, they try to find some allegation against BJP and debate 'Are all political parties corrupt today? or 'Are all Indians corrupt?' not differentiating that one is in power and the other is in opposition. The charge is about looting and misuse of public money that only people in power can do! Corruption is always top-down.

    When someone points out Congress is a dynasty with servants and its laughable to see RG talk about meritocracy in youth congress, they debate ' Isn't Sangh parivar another dynasty? Aren't both BJP and Congress both dynastic in different ways?'

    When Robert Vadra is caught looting because of his family connections. they try to dig up some dirt on BJP to make it all 'fair and equal'. Will they now dig up the ownership details of Young Indian as they did with Purti group? Of course not, they will go back to SRK new hair style, Amitabh Bacchan's cough, Yuvraj singh's mom and what not

    When polls show Muslims are also trying to move on in Gujarat and are even supporting for Modi, they debate 'Are muslims in Guj so scared of modi that they are supporting him now?' And he has the bigotry to call him communal! You see, for him to be secular (being a 'liberal' and all), the people he bashes will have to be communal (and by insinuation 'medieval' and 'uncouth').

    When Rahul Gandhi fails miserably in UP, the topic of debate is 'Is the UP electorate too casteist?'. So if cong fails, its because of casteist and communal narrow minded electorate?

    Sagarika Ghose wants to debate 'Is Modi PM material'. Rightly Swapan asked 'shouldn't we have a neutral anchor instead of a Modi Hater?'. Fellow IBN propagandist Mr. Chaubey tweets, 'are there any?'. Our Indian media has become so embedded in the govt that they forget they are actually supposed to moderate and not be a lawyer for one party. if that is their passion, they should just be a spokesman or be a participant in the debate instead of pretensions of moderating.

    Modi says 'people close to the Congress party are all making crores of rupees. Even a girl friend of an MP made 50 cr. Think how much others are making!' and the debate is ' does Modi hate women?' instead of asking her about the sweat equity and a simple question like 'Sonia gandhi earlier removed Shashi because of the corruption allegations, has he been cleared? what the source of that money that you had?' I can give you some ideas Rajdeep. why don't you debate 'Does Modi hate rich women?' Is Modi bitter because he didn't get to open an IPL team?'

    This same Sunanda was bashed in 2010. Now she is kosher because they can use her to bash Modi. Wow!

    One of my old bosses asked me in a moment of frank conversation,'tell me, what do you think ails our company, be very honest'. I told him 'its you, you lack leadership, risk taking and communication'. My boss didn't like it but he probably wanted to just hear 'what other than me is the problem with this company?'.

    That's the language of the celeb media today. They don't get it that its their bigotry, biases, and acting like govt PR, false binary debates (as we saw during FDI 'are you for FDI or are you against progress?') the reason for their criticism. They keep looking outside for what ails English media today.

    Dr. Swamy asked a good question in the interview last night on CNN IBN 'why is it that Kejriwal gets so much air time but not him (Swamy) when he made the same allegations about Vadra?'. So it proves again that its the person and the not the subject matter.

    They reluctantly gave voice to Swamy probably because of the pressure from Social media.

    Shared from a great comment by a reader on Rajdeeps's article in firstpost.


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