Tag Archives: India Story

Biggest Corporate Fraud is now Biggest Coverup

From a media perspective, the fraud at India’s “fourth largest Information Technology company” has been remarkable for two things.

One, the failure of the business media in catching a whiff of what was cooking in the accounting kitchens of the disgraced Hyderabad company not just one year, but for seven years.

If that failure is understandable because none of the overseeing institutions did so either, it is remarkable how easily an even larger media circus has allowed “India’s Biggest Corporate Fraud” to slip into “India’s Biggest Coverup” in one month flat.

After the initial flurry when B. Ramalinga Raju fessed up to the fraud on January 7, there has been a stunning reluctance to ask the big, hard-hitting, politically incorrect questions. Instead, the media have happily allowed themselves to be diverted and distracted with safety-first stenography that even Satyam’s public relations men (and women) would have envied.

As if protecting the reputation of a city or its leading IT brand is the duty of the media, not serving the interests of readers.

R. Jagannathan, the managing editor of DNA, has been one of the few business journalists who has managed to retain his eye on the ball and stick his neck out. In an edit page column, he writes of the curious convergence of political, regional and business interests that is conspiring to derail the probe.

He writes of the Bihar connection that has found little or no mention in the rest of the media:

“The prime minister does not want Satyam to sink as it might dent India’s global IT image. The UPA’s political leadership cannot let a corruption scandal damage Andhra chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) in an election year. With him goes the Congress party’s hope of returning to power as head of the next coalition.

“Turfed out of Bihar by the NDA, the political interests of the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) mesh well with those of the Congress. It partly explains the Andhra-Bihar nexus in the Satyam probe.

“The man at the centre of it all, company affairs minister Prem Chand Gupta, is from the RJD. The Andhra Pradesh DGP is a Yadav from Bihar, S.S.P. Yadav. The policeman handling the Andhra CID probe is inspector-general of police V.S.K. Kaumudi. When he was with the CBI some years back, Kaumudi probed Lalu’s fodder scam. He obviously knows a thing or two about Lalu’s secrets. Lalu and the Andhra CM, thus, have an interest in helping each other out….

“It is obvious who is really being protected: the Andhra chief minister. The Satyam scandal was essentially about the misuse of corporate funds for private purposes, including the purchase of benami land and wangling lucrative contracts from the Andhra government. It is impossible for land deals to be done in the state without the chief minister’s nod.”

Read the full article: The Bihar Connection

Also read: How come media didn’t spot Satyam fraud

Why Andhra is epicentre of biggest scam


‘Indian media is too nationalistic, and smug’

India and Pakistan may only just have begun rattling their sabres in the aftermath of the terror attack on Bombay, but a fullblown war has already broken out between the media of the two countries over the Indian media’s “unquestioning acceptance” of the Indian government’s “unsubstantiated” claim of a Pakistani link.

Nirupama Subramanian reports in The Hindu that the Indian media is being decried as “too nationalistic” and “smug”, and that they purveyed “lies” and “half-truths”. While governments that governments will say what they have to, the Indian media, especially the electronic media, is projecting Pakistan as the enemy without asking the requisite questions.

“[The] Indian media is overcommitted to projecting India as a success story. They are not used to reporting State failures. They are used to reporting India as a country where nothing bad happens, its Army as the best thing in the world. It projects its heroes as supermen, taller than the Himlayas…So the gap between what the Indian media are committed to reporting, and the crass state failure they had to do report [in Bombay], they ended up filling it with lies,” Talat Hussain, a top-rated anchor with Aaj TV, told Dawn News.

Subramanian reports that the feeling is widespread in the Pakistan journalistic community that the Indian media are responsible for the current tensions between the two countries and for pushing the Indian government to take on its neighbour even if it means launching a military strike.

Read the full article: Pakistan media declare war on Indian media

Also read: ‘Indian journalists take themselves too seriously’

Gnani Sankaran: ‘Icon of whose India?

Chyetanya Kunte: ‘Shoddy journalism’

Also view: ‘Pakistan media taunts Indian Army’

‘The Bombay fraud exposed’