Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crime Pays

We have finance channels like CNBC18, CNBCAwaaz, NDTVProfit, ETNow and print media like Economic Times or Financial Express. What do these media outlets do? Especially the TV channels! The TV channels run 24X7 doing nothing but stock market scores and interviews with top guns of companies. Not once have these financial channels ever been able to expose one single fraud in any of the companies they cover. Wonder why? All the glorious reports they do on cars and bikes and financial companies are based on scripts handed out to them. During the crash of 2008 CNBC in the US was exposed as even betting on companies that were definitely looking to sink. Some anchors also worked with inside information. Famous among them was the company of Sir Allen Stanford. Remember him? He was the guy who organised the rich cricket tournaments between England and West Indies. Here he is:

During the 2008 sub-prime crash the reporter from CNBC asks Stanford how he survived the crash. Interesting, eh? And then asks him “is it fun being a billionaire”? Well, that’s what financial channels do; they suck up to the billionaires for their share of the crumbs. And yes, as Stanford tells him “Yes, it’s fun being a billionaire”. Turns out Allen Stanford ran a Ponzi scheme (named after the scamster Charles Ponzi) to the tune of $7 billion. Fortunately, the justice system in the US is a bit faster and Stanford is now cooling his heels in prison under a 110-year sentence. In contrast, what do you estimate will happen to the scamsters that ran the Saradha Chit Fund in Kolkata?

History is proof that scams and corruption don’t begin from the bottom. They begin at the top. Be it Richard Nixon, Ramalinga Raju, Sudipto Sen (MD of Saradha Chit Fund), Bear Sterns, Meryl Lynch or any other company. Take any scam in the last few years; 2G, Coalgate, Adarsh Housing to name a few. All of them involved people in the highest offices of the country. Invariably, it’s the small guy who pays the price. Prior to his arrest Sen had written a long letter to the CBI describing events that led to the crash of his chit fund company (read it on Rediff). While the media has been quick to call the Saradha scam a ‘ponzi’ scheme it is actually a lot more than that. Their fall has been driven by the ambitions of Sen and the greed of many a politician and media persons and outlets.

The opening tagline to “The Godfather” rightly says “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”. It would be an apt line for politicians, businessmen and media persons who have acquired a fortune in a relatively short period. Robert Vadra has been given a clean chit in all the land scams he was accused of. Why would anyone pay a price for the Saradha scam except the ordinary poor people of Bengal? The letter by Sen to CBI even quotes Nalini Chidambaram (wife of P. Chidambaram) being paid 1Crore and mentions deals worth 42Crores. Really, is NC such a famous lawyer to command such extraordinary legal fees or deals? And while our media conveniently mentions others like Mithun Chakraborty (who hasn’t been accused of any wrong doing) and media persons like Kunal Ghosh not one single channel dared to mention the name “Chidambaram”. So on what grounds did they name the others mentioned in Sen’s later?

I have often mentioned that the media is the “first line of defence for the corrupt”. I guarantee that if the IT officials go through the bank accounts and incomes of many a media celeb with a fine tooth comb, the chances are that a lot more financial crimes will be exposed. But they won’t. And nor will the media ever expose any financial scams. After all, they are partly beneficiaries of these crimes.

The audacity of the whole episode is that not only have the poor in Bengal (and investors of other places) who invested in the Saradha Chit Fund lost all their money and some their lives too, the Bengal CM is now promising to compensate them from the state funds. Wonderful! Scamsters loot people and then the state conveniently will again use your money to compensate. So you lose both ways. Even if some compensation is paid from the state funds the first condition has to be that all the scamsters should be arrested and charge-sheeted. It is highly unlikely something like that will ever happen. The image from IndiaToday is a good example of how scams are negotiated: 1) Screaming in the media 2) Political wrangling 3) Handover case to CBI 4) DEAD END! 

People who argue that politicians are a reflection of society might want to think again. If that were indeed true then apply the ratio of corrupt politicians to the whole population. That would make for a frightening figure. There is corruption everywhere but the fountainhead is always at the top not at the bottom. The “bottle-neck” in a bottle is always at the top, that’s why impediments are known as “bottle-necks”. The message being repeatedly sent to the ordinary people is that crime pays. My bet is that nothing will happen to Sudipto Sen or anyone involved in the Saradha scam. After all, most of the money went to politicians and media.



  1. Best of the comments is that of Mamta "what is gone is gone ..." Someone on Twitter suggested learning alphabets as follows - A for Adarsh, B for Bofors, C for coal scam etc. We can only patiently wait for 2014 :(

    1. We have S for Saradha now. Don't need to worry about alphabets "D" to "R". Sonia Gandhi Congress is capable of running all those scams in a matter of days. In fact, they can complete until 'Z' before next elections.

      By the way, they have also started in numbers (2G Spectrum), because they are running out of alphabets.

  2. The "anchors"of the TV shows are very young and cannot possibly have the knowledge, experience or exposure to know what they are talking about or to have any perspective.
    Many business mags approach MNC staff to write articles in the mags since their staff has very little real knowledge.

  3. Agreed 100% Nothing is going to happen them. But people like you are doing good job by rasing voice.

  4. Hi Ravinar,

    Another Grt article. Seems all politicians are inspired by Y S Rajshekar Reddy's mantra-looto aur lootnedo.

  5. You forgot the greatest Indian ponzi schemester of India - Subroto Roy Sahara... despite SEBI and Supreme Court intervention, he continues to be regarded as one of India's business greats.

  6. Hi Ravinar,

    Gone are the days when Ramnath Goenka took on the might of Dhirubhai Ambani and the GoI.

    Today, it is really sad to see people like Rajdeep, Barkha, Arnab, Rahul Kanwal, who have sold their souls to the Corrupt. It is really surprising to see, these people have become so shameless about being corrupt, that they find pride in it.

    I m sure the 2014 elections will be fought not only on the ground but the real battle will be online and on TV and it will be a bloody battle, no holds bar.

    This is where, people like u will come handy to bring the truth in front of the voter.

    May god be always be with you.

  7. Ravinarji.
    Jean de La Fontaine says, in his poetry Les Maladies de la Peste (contagious Diseases), « Selon que vous serez puissant ou misérable Les jugements de cour vous rendront blanc ou noir. » (Depending upon how powerful or miserable that you are the justice system and the judgments will make you white or black)

    Similar is the behavior of our media and you bring that out so eloquently. Bravo!
    The likes of all sound blasting daily anchors/barkers should hang their heads in shame. These self-righteous moral teachers are immoral morons. 01) Sudipto Sen talks about his big business empire. 02) He mentions big money every time. 03) He says to have signed important documents presented to him without even understanding what he is signing. I have a few basic questions after reading all these confessions in his letter. 01) For such an empire does he not have a Charted Account/Company Secretary or legal advisor? 02) How come he (Sudipto Sen) never mentions any of these professional’s to be able to clarify to the CBI should they need as he recommends a few other names who are deemed to be his officer cadres or associates? 03) Is not mandatory by law to have such professionals given his numerous companies and the extent of turn over mentioned? 04) How come no media attempt to get access to the balance sheets of Sharadha to dissect and bisect which these same media did/do in other cases and more specifically when it involves Gujarat?
    I liked specifically your questioning on how big is Nalini Chidu to claim such a big fee. This is not the first time her name crops up to shoddy affaires. Her name is also there in the shoddy land deals along with her on in TN. The same day of this letter and just a few hours before Chidu issued a statement declaring his disinterest for the post of PM! Any insider connection? Is Chidu aware of the contents of the letter before it was made public? It is further alleged that Sudipito Sen wrote several letters to the Finance Ministry! A deep rooted connivance should be there? A subject for research?
    More power to your pen Sirji.

  8. Excellent article. Your writing & language is getting better & sounds professional. Having being a part of the media for many years, I know whatever you have said is true.

  9. Dear Ravinar,

    Yesterday when all Channels were busy trying the ABCD thing("Avoid, Bypass, Confuse and Deflect")on Saradha, some panellist on NDTV mentioned about how today's Media is considered at par with corrupt Police & Politicians. On that comment all the other panellists & the anchor Mr Ravish Kumar laughed without any sense of any guilt or remorse.

  10. Our thoughts your words, exactly...nicely written..
    This is basic we should understand corruption can be removed from top only and development has to start from base...
    but for both the case we do exactly opposite.

  11. Ravinar bro as usual great article.
    Chidambaram will get a clean cheat from PMO in future like they gave to Robert and everything will be vanished like nothing happen.
    Thanks to our Mainstream Media who let us forget they want and let not forget us what suits them and their masters.
    Have you watched this documentary called "Nero's Guests" Ravi?
    It is amazing coverage of Suicides of Farmers in Vidarbha and no media ready to highlight the matter.
    Because corporate farming is making situation worse for our farmers to take control of farming sector in India.
    There is no doubt this Media houses are heavily paid by this MNC's to suppress the suicide matter.
    Here's link:

    1. Thanks for sharing the link of the p sainath video ( as also for the comments below

  12. So what can be done ???
    Indians are tolerating all this.
    Many are willing to become suckers . Repeatedly.
    This ( Saradha scam ) is not the first and neither is it likely to be last.
    Mainstream media ( in india ) is misleading, distracting , confusing issues. And what is anyone done anything about it ?
    Having fought the system from within for over two decades - I can say with reasonable authority and conviction that Indians are cowards and sycophants. I once sent a complaint to to a regulator ( on email ) against one MNC bank . The response I got was appalling. After three months of my email - someone responded stating that I need to send the same by hard copy by snail mail to a particular address .
    The corruption in india is deep rooted and malignant . Nothing less than a revolution can change things . And whether it will happen or not is anybody's guess.

    1. you should read this book "Breaking Free of Nehru" by ex-IAS Officer Sanjeev Sabhlok.
      The author who has worked as IAS Officer has said everything straight about our incompetent constitution.
      Author perfectly predicted about corruption and scams that will happen more in this country and that is what is happening!!
      He clearly mentions that there is no position for an Honest Officer you either get Suppressed like Ashok Khemka and other Honest Officers or you will be transferred or they just bypass you.

    2. He has also talked about Nehruvian view of Socialism and how it is damaging our country as well as society in his book.

  13. Great one Ravinar! How about the decades long 'ponzi' Subroto Roy and his dealings? His recent celebrations have the presence of one and all from the political parties across and also the celebrities as ever. I had this genuine doubt then, while watching the events, how things would be different for 'Sahara' even NDA/BJP comes to power?!

  14. Most politicians in power are in a hurry to grab as much as possible as if there will be no tomorrow.And come to think of it, actually there may be no tomorrow!

  15. It is sad that media is indulging in cheap politics instead of analyzing things unbiased. Politicians in this country have long used the media to thrive on such scams and NO court or supreme court are all sleeping save for those highly paid lawyers or judges who have sold their bodies, mind and souls to Congress (Example - Katju). the courts can take serious action against govt for lax implementation of the laws / rules for such chitfund companies...

  16. With so much detailed information available, on almost all companies and their work methods, how the channels are the experts fail to notice ponzi schemes and report it in the media on its viability ?

  17. No Sir, The Corrupt Regime including powerful Industrialists,Media will come down one day !!
    Nothing is certain , Manthan is going on and I believe strongly that our Country will see renaissance again, It might take time, but it will . Best Example is You Sirji ! You have changed the "Perception" of the people on one part of the society "Media" ! Slowly but surely people will come forward and participate ! I am one of those who believed MSM ! After, I stumbled upon your blog,i reinvented myself, my friends , my colleagues ! And, nobody watches these "celebs".They look for SM and ur blog for news ! By the way i have placed an order for the book a week back, when can i get it ?

  18. Sir, willu please tell me which news paper i should read for more accurate news..... i lives in delhi....and i m reading The Hindu. i want to change the news paper but all popular ones are almost same in case of news reporting.....

  19. Akshat ji, there is no newspaper today in entire that is worth reading. Today all newspapers and media channels are all aligned to some political thought and very difficult to get real truth or news. All media channels have now become VIEWS CHANNELS instead of providing news, they collect few unemployed grey hairs or employed for mud sludging grey hairs, giving their views all through the day. It would be better for health to avoid all newspapers and focus only those activities to which one is directly associated / concern in daily life of average Indian.

  20. I often find it better to read blogs than actual news to get real truth. Today the entire political class & all govt employees working in various Ministries in Delhi and similarly in Indian states, all state level ministries and state employees are all stooges of ruling govt. Transfers are based on political connection than on rules and merit. Employees promotion or post retirement benefits are also subjected to similar whims and fancies of ruling govt. Those supporting govt. end up with post retirement, gubernatorial posts or some get their children selected in Harvard Universities based on their relative merit of having supported ruling govt or signing documents for Multi national companies. Many are these admissions are called scholarships. These scholarships are renewed and reviewed every quarter to ensure the govt employees fall in line.... else risk being thrown out of university.

  21. Today, it is really sad to see people like Rajdeep, Barkha, Arnab, Rahul Kanwal, who have sold their souls to the Corrupt. It is really surprising to see, these people have become so shameless about being corrupt, that they find pride in it.

    Glyn Willmoth


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