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India - a caged tiger gone berserk

Caged Tiger Has Gone Berserk

India Was Caged till June, 1991. Was it a tiger ? Probably a tiger in the Zoo. Protected by iron walls of customs, FERA and Licensing. That tiger has been released from the cage. But the tiger has never experienced the forest. And he doesn't know the Law of the Jungle. With the new found freedom, the tiger has gone berserk. Indian politician, industrialist and the common man - every body has suddenly become greedy. Everyone wants money, lots of it and fast.

Ex-Prime Minister of India Mr. P.V. Narsimha Rao is accused in cases of cheating and corruption. And he is not prepared to leave whatever pseudo power he is enjoying. He and his colleagues will ensure the dissolution of the 110 years old congress.

More than thirty top politicians of all the parties are involved in Havala case. Country's CBI and enforcement directorate which strike most harshly for far smaller cases, on the businessman - are developing cold feet in taking any action against the top politicians. CBI chief executive goes to the accused politicians for seeking their blessings.

Politicians are corrupt, fraudulent and mean. All politicians everywhere in the world are the same. I see no difference between Bill Clinton and Mulayam Singh. One is sophisticated, the other is crude. There are more than 30 police cases registered against Mulayam. Bill ordered firing of missiles on Iraq. Whole world knows, the purpose was to imporve his election chances. Bill knew fully well that Iraq is in no position to retaliate. So what if a few innocent citizens die - including children and women. So what, if the world opinion is that U.S.A. has no business interfering in Iraq's internal affairs. His election is more important than the life of a few Arabs/Muslims/Asians.

In my view, both are criminals. India is better - at least there are cases registered against Mulayam. In U.S.A. no cases will be registered against Clinton for killing innocent people.

However, in India even the non-political average Indian has gone berserk. Every one wants a lot of money.

India has seen waves of public issues. Where outright cheaters have made series of public issues and taken hundreds of crores of rupees from the public. These white collar criminals are called promoters and directors. Nothing happens to them when they simply walk away with the loot.

SEBI is supposed to protect the public. It is rumored that very high authorities in SEBI had allowed dubious public issues.

Mr. Harshad Mehta had a dream of making billions of rupees. And he wanted it fast. Nothing exceptional about it. Every society in every generation sees some samples of excessively greedy people.

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What was exceptional was that top dignitaries opened their doors for him. The best financial institutions welcomed him. Almost all the foreign banks were directly party to his fraudulent schemes. The sad part of the story is that every - almost every Indian investor belived his Cock-and-bull stories and bought the shares as per his tips. Mr. Harshad succeeded because the common Indian man on the street is greedy. Because the common man and the journalists made a hero out of a greedy man.

All the scandals that are now coming out - the Telecom scandal; The Urea import scandal; The fodder scandal; and a whole lot of scandals only prove that while the cheaters were looting Indian public wealth, all other institutions were either silent spectators or direct party to the frauds. Scandals are only being exposed now. They have been going on for last several years. All the guardians of Indian law and morality did not prevent them.

Chairman of a company gets shares of his own company duplicated. And nothing happens to him. You don't hear of any prosecution.

If you are shocked, this is the common happening in Indian markets. Several Indian directors have pledged their own shares with banks and borrowed money. Then they used these funds to speculate and raise the prices of their shares. They sold the shares in the market - which shares were already pledged. At the time of delivery, they printed duplicate shares and gave to the brokers. Hoping that - by the time the shares come for registration, they will pay the loan to bank, release the pledged shares and give these certificates to the stock exchanges. Some directors succeeded. For some, before the cycle could be completed, the markets crashed.

The share brokers commit frauds. Stock exchangers protect share brokers. Journalists of several papers and magazines are purchasable. They print what the promoters want. When you send shares for registration whether by post or by courier, the shares get stolen on the way. Even company directors can be involved in share switches. In many cases, Audited accounts give anything but a 'true & fair' view of final accounts.

Where do you go for help ? SEBI is ineffective. Courts will not give respite until next twenty years.

Share market is just one example. Every walk of life has been corrupted. Be it education, religion, medicine or trade and commerce. India has become truly a scoundrel's paradise. Several people have done several kinds of frauds.

If Indian industrialists are frauds, so are the multi national corporations. For every single Indian politician who demanded bribes, there were scores of multinational corporations who were bending over backwards to give the bribes.

I don't believe, greed and stupidity is monopoly of Indians. But in India today, greed has pervaded the whole country.

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Politicians and industrialists are out there to exploit the people. Professional is not going to save the people. And people are knowingly becoming victims because of their own greed.

Today, in India only two institutions give the signs of hope. The judiciary and the press. These people are fighting against institutionalised corruption. It is very serious to note Sitaram Kesri's statement that "politicians are being framed". Congress wants to take action against "judicial activism". A proper description for this kind of action is - (the thief punishes the police officer.) Such an attitude must be seriously denounced. People must come out in support of the judiciary and the press.

For the success of these people, (judiciary and press) the common man will have to stand up. He will have to shake off his awe for the wealthy. He will have to shake off his greed, stupidity and gullibility. Pull out the exploiter and the cheater. Denounce them. Boycott them. Redirect your hero worshipping. That is the only way to stop your own exploitation.

Have common sense. Keep it steady. If India, at this time does not wake up, If the honest man does not do his duty, If the cheaters are given the free hand, Then India is destined to doom. If you want your own and your children's bright future ; Stand up and fight.

All the political parties have realised that if there is inflation, the ruling party will lose election. Indian voter is not going to tolerate inflation.

It is also necessary to make the politicians realise - that the Indian voter will not tolerate a mafia gangster or a corrupt as their representative.

The Berserk tiger will have to be brought to senses. And only the common Indian man can do that. Through the ballot box.

Rashmin Sanghvi
Date: October 3, 1996