POLL: Have Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis let India down?

Hell hath no fury than an industrialist scorned. The naming of Kumar Mangalam Birla, the youthful chief of the Aditya Birla group, in the 14th first information report (FIR) filed by the central bureau of investigation (CBI) in the coal allocation scam, has set the cat among the pigeons of India’s business class, which suddenly cannot decide whether to run or to hide.

Birla has only been named in the FIR—not arrested, not convicted, not jailed. But from HDFC’s Deepak Parekh downwards, everybody who is somebody in Bombay is behaving as if the skies have fallen down and giving certificates of good conduct to the Hindalco chairman, whose company is accused of garnering a 15% stake meant for public sector undertakings.

Birla is, of course, only the latest businessman in a scam under the cavernous nose of the Congress-led UPA.

Before him, there was Naveen Jindal, the tricolour-waving head honcho of Jindal Steel, who is also a Congress member of Parliament, also in the coal scam. Before him, there was Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal and the Ruias of Essar and the Khaitans in the 2G scam.Before (and after) them, there was (and there is) Mukesh Ambani in the KG Basin ripoff. Add to that a Keshub Mahindra of Union Carbide, and you have the who’s who of South Bombay.

Considering that most of them are involved in allegations of usurping natural resources (spectrum, coal, gas), the question to ask is: have our industrialists and businessmen, who otherwise paint themselves as the heartbeat of the nation, let the country down with their greed and avarice? Do they even have the locus standi to talk of “policy paralysis”, when they have their hand in the till, and how?

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21 Responses to “POLL: Have Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis let India down?”

  1. harkol Says:

    The top businessmen named above have failed India.

    They had a industrial wherewithal to make India a innovation powerhouse, instead of mostly a back-office and commodity story.

    All the folks that have had their wealth grow obscenely during UPA years are the kind who do ‘commodities’, real-estate and traditional trades that need ‘license-permit’ and govt. munificence.

    The decade before that saw a better India. New economies making money, new billionaires being created as first generation entrepreneurs.

    We faltered in 2000s, because the Birla, Tata, Ambani (and bunch of other oligarchic empires) hit back. So, you haven’t heard of a new large company getting created (the likes of Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Biocon, Dr. Reddy Labs etc. were all stories of 1990s).

    Instead you heard of DLF, Unitech, Reddys, Jindals, Reliance etc. raking in money. This is all due to their hold on govt. levers.

    A prime indicator of the vibrancy of an economy is the rate at which it destroys old wood (i.e. churn at top company list). If a country has the same companies at top, it means it is a static economy, without innovations.

    India is one such. We are failed by having tata, birla, Ambani, Godrejs etc. at the top for way too long.

  2. asha Says:

    TATA company started during the British Raj by supplying Opium bought from Burma to the British Govt, which sold/distributed in China. Please read “Opium Wars” instigated by the British. TATA company had a big hand in this..now you decide

  3. ERR Says:

    Yahoo, Amazon entered few years back and made their mark. Before them it was Microsoft and Apple . Now It’s Facebook, Twitter that’s setting the new horizon. Jeff Bezos buys Washington post!
    In US Ford, GE are not leaders of business anymore. But here we still have only Tatas, Birlas for nearly 100 years and Ambanis. Why is India not churning out companies to harness the new technologies? harkol is right. stagnation has set in.

    It’s wrong to blame Govt all the time.Perhaps spirit of entrepreneurship especially amongst is lacking to take on new challenges.

  4. Anonymous Guy Says:

    ERR, Agreed, cant blame government all the time for this.
    If we look in the mirror at ourselves it is easy to see the reason for the situation.
    If there is some profitable field, we will park our relatives and set up things so control is in our family first, caste second and religion third for generations to come.
    A marwari will trust a marwari first and foremost, a gujju will trust a gujju over anyone else etc. Cant blame them in a country with the kind of diversity and freedom of movement like ours.
    Take politics, business, industry, show business, sports, what have you. You can see it in new businesses like IT within just one generation.
    On the other hand, we should be thankful at least we have capable businessmen…

  5. asha Says:

    I am yet to come across a honest businessman like Mr.Azim Premji of Wipro. All other business leaders are crooks of various shades..including our own kannadiga Naani aka Naryana Murthy

  6. JAS Says:

    The entry-barrier that the old clique of Bombay Club had built to budding entrepreneurs with helping hand from the government is still intact although the cracks are visible.

  7. shiv Says:

    Tatas had a reputation for honesty but then the third generation curse has got them in deep shit.First generation will build an industry, the second will sustain and the third will destroy.I will not be surprised if ratan tata gets to enjoy Tihar.Ambanis/ruias/khaitans/mahindras all have prospered through politician nexus.How can naveen jindal be a central minister and the company get government contracts?Crooks in the garb of industrialists think India is a banana republic.Time has come for Supreme court to change their mindset.Let their goose get cooked.None will shed a tear.This is a land of billion plus people.Why worry about a tata or a ambani?

  8. Subramanian Says:

    Even as the ‘ex-coal secretary’ revealed that the ‘competent authority’ exposed in the mega coal-scam was none other than the PM (Mauni Singh), the 40 Billion dollar tycoon ranked 150 on the Forbes list of world billionaires, Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla scrambled support from all his corrupt cronies in industry, CII and almost all the ministers and politicians who have been his beneficiaries for decades!

    While stepping out from the south block office of Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Revenue Secretary Sumit, a smiling Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla broke his silence on Friday, rubbishing the FIR filed by the CBI in a coal block allocation case. He said he was now not worried because no wrong was committed. He told reporters later that he had discussed the issue with the Minister and others. Rubbishing the FIR filed by the CBI, he said that (on instructions from the Italian Madam) Chidambaram has ‘reassured him’ that he will not be arrested, so he was not worried because no wrong was committed!

    “As of now, I am not worried about it. I have been reassured; there is nothing wrong [that] has been done. So why should one worry?”

    Refusing to take any questions regarding the discovery of black money worth Rs, 25 crores in cash in his own office in Delhi on Wednesday by the IT-dept, the billionaire magnate also mentioned that the scam and recent revelations will not disqualify the Birla Group’s application for a nationwide bank license.
    To assure him more, the oily oil minister M Veerappa Moily and well-known Ambani side-kick, told the waiting media that “India should not become like Russia, where investors are not prepared to go because corrupt billionaires are put behind bars”

    On the heels of the Rs 25-crore cash seizure at Hindalco’s office in Delhi on Wednesday, the Income-Tax Department has decided to re-open tax assessments of the company for the last six years, since 1000’s of crores of income tax was found to be unpaid in preliminary investigations!

    Additionally, the supreme court monitored Coal-Scam investigation team at CBI has claimed to have made a fresh recovery from the group which included retail invoice of gold coins totaling to Rs 90 crores, investments in various ponzi schemes to the tune of Rs 170 crores besides almost a crore of ‘daily petty cash’ in the drawer of Birla’s personal assistant! Also in the making are charges of “willfully concealing” rare antiquities such as 300 gold coins dating back to the Gupta and Maurya periods, and many other gold artefacts – including super precious gold and diamond laced tea sets and flower vases.

    Unwilling to risk their futures to political vagaries, all the big corporate houses in India are extraordinarily corrupt and tend to hedge their bets to contribute to political parties across the spectrum. Data analyzed by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch has found that the trust which made the maximum ‘official contributions’ to political parties is the General Electoral Trust of the Aditya Birla Group, with Rs 186.46 crore to the Congress between 2003-04 and 2010-11 and Rs 100 crore to the BJP during the period.

    Going by the list of donors, the Tata Group, A B Birla Group, Vedanta, Reliance, Ambuja Cements, Jindals and the Essar Group have made significant contributions to leading national parties (especially Cong-I, NCP, SP, BJP, BSP and RJP) and regional satraps that rule some of the mineral-rich states like Odisha and UP. Incidentally, many of these groups had been allocated coal blocks and prominently featured in the CAG report that pointed to lack of transparency in massive corruption and allocation of many of these mines against all fair norms, leading to unheard of windfall gains to private firms and cartels to the tune of a shocking Rs 1.86 lakh crores.

    While it is well-known that ‘official’ and more importantly “un-official” b;ack money based donations and so-called voluntary contributions are one of the major sources of income for all Indian political parties, the entire bizarre drama surrounding Kumar Mangalam Birla is nothing but another attempt by the Congress-I to squeeze massive funds ahead of the general elections.

    Turning the screw a notch deeper, sources say that the chief fund mobilizer of the Italian Madam and Pappu Prince, Ahmed Patel has apparently called-up all the other billionaire industrialists recently, ‘instructing’ them to immediately cough-up 1000s of crores in ‘unofficial’ contribution to the UPA’s election fund.

  9. Deepak Says:

    Yep, all the industrialists are crooks who have looted this country and have let us down. It is only the legendary MMS and his Italian bosses who have saved this nation. All the scams were caused by the crooked Industrialists who enticed poor, honest people like Raja, Bansal, Kalmadi who are innocent babes and got seduced by the villianous industrialists. Better we move to communist system and let the govt. run industry so the crooks in industry can be thrown out and our honest, squeaky clean politicians can run the system.

  10. Manava Says:

    Nothing new here at all. Like politicians, these rich businessmen are all crooks. That is a given fact.

  11. Rizwan Khan Says:

    In one sentence, the entire strategy, carefully crafted by the Cong-I’s key villains with more than a decade of experience in massive corruption, impending change of Govt and foresight is: to ensure the helpless, former Coal Secretary PC Parakh is made a scapegoat (while smartly pre-empting any chance of the helpless former bureaucratic becoming a suspect-turned-approver) and bail out the worst PM (a.k.a competent authority) India has ever had!

  12. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Deepak said “All the scams were caused by the crooked Industrialists
    Nope.
    All the scams were caused by the crooked Indians.

    Modi or MMS or Sonia is not going to change that basic fact.

  13. Sanjeeva Says:

    @Asha, If Azim Premji is an honest businessman, then how come, few months back, the BBMP had to resort to ‘drum beating’ in front of Wipro gates to recover unpaid tax!? (which I think was few crores)

  14. shiv Says:

    MrAnonymousGuy – “All the scams were caused by the crooked Indians.Modi or MMS or Sonia is not going to change that basic fact.” – That is a negative way of approaching your life.What the entire world of sane reasonable people want is when the crime gets committed, there is an administration which will catch them and punish them.If more and more crooks get caught and punished, there will be a fear factor within people which will automatically motivate a vast majority to stick to rules.The present times is an interesting one because the woman who heads cong(i) herself has turned miserable and the whole country has been pulled down along with her. So the choice is let the country prosper and the woman spend her time in misery.it is an easy decision for all sane reasonable people.india will eventually reach a stage like the current western europe, atleast for the present, Modi will be a step in that direction.The false gandu family has done enough damge since independence,,one Modi cannot set it right,,what we are desperate at the moment is a whiff of fresh air from the stench of cong(i)

  15. Anonymous Guy Says:

    @shiv’s abusive, sycophantic post is a good example of the basic fact I wrote about.

  16. Alok Says:

    But industrialists are bound to be greedy. It’s law enforcement that has to keep them in check. That’s what has let us down, not the industrialists.

  17. babuds Says:

    No doubt our Indian business houses (families) are epicenters of corruption. Their loot, made possible by slimy political leaders, belongs to the nation.

  18. shiv Says:

    Alok – ” But industrialists are bound to be greedy. It’s law enforcement that has to keep them in check. That’s what has let us down, not the industrialists.”
    Spot on…
    But imagine a foreign born woman who has very little feel for the country marries into a dubious first family with lots of shenanigans who hold on to power by undermining all institutions starting with judiciary appointments,police,cbi,sebi,dgca,defence ministry where the heads are allowed to swindle as long as no one questions shenanigans of first family.If these shenanigans carry on since 1970s, slowly all the regional parties and even opposition like BJP learn the trade by doing similar acts within their area of power,, then the IAS/IPS slowly get into the act realising that by playing ball, they get enriched beyond dreams,, what happens to class 3 or 4 employess,, why should they stand in the side lines?Today, in India we are facing borderline anarchy and it has not degenerated into free for all because there are still enough honest people around.All we need is a new force which will dislodge this crooked brigade, instill a sense of fear among politicians that if they are caught they will be stripped of all wealth.This new force should start with the top especially the first family. and then work downwards.Once powerful people’s goose gets cooked, the pickpockets will be easy to handle.

  19. Srinath Reddy Says:

    From Coal Mafia, Telecom Mafia to the latest Onion Mafia, businessmen that suck the common man and corrupt politicians that ruthlessly loot are the bane of our anarchy. While all parties are to be blamed, with 10 years of continuous rule….rather complete misrule, the insensitive, shamelessly conniving crooks in the ruling Cong-I and its doomed allies like SP, DMK, NCP, RJD, BSP..etc have absolutely no excuses whatsoever and need to be banished from India.

    We have all seen the daylight dacoits in case of Coal Gate and 3G-2G loot: the biggest scams India has witnessed till date. Of course, none will ever be punished or hanged. In fact, before the next elections, all the culprits will have got a glaring white wash and ‘clean-chit’ from the CBI!

    The common man is now contemplating suicide since he can’t even feed his family or children. And the top leaders scream that ‘poverty’ is merely a state of mind!

    More than the 300% increase in Onion prices, the insensitivity of the ruling clan is most noticeable. The Govt should have put Onion on the list of items in the Essential Commodity Act, at least 6 months back, instead, shockingly even today its sleeping and sucking people’s blood. With elections within months, the govt is desperately mobilizing 800 crores a week from the onion cartels and all along, the media exposes and economists have the same solution to the present crisis.

    • Declare Onion on the list of items in the Essential Commodity Act
    • All Onion license export licensees need to be cancelled (all were issued by the NCP and Cong-I for hefty kick-backs)
    • Directly procure Onions from the major onion Mandi’s
    • Onion Mandi prices are just Rs 15 to Rs 20 but retail prices are now Rs 100 in many cities! The heads of the cartels (almost all ore NCP or Cong-I MLA’s) need to be arrested immediately.
    • Only about 18 wholesalers control and manipulate the all-India market for onions! Only 6 billionaire traders/exporters in India have onion export license, all are family-controlled and have been loyal to their political Godfather’s for decades!
    • The whole-sale merchants are controlled by 4 key cartels, all of them pay around 800 crores of hafta per month to UPA thro’ 2 Cong-I MPs and4 key NCP leaders: very closely related to Sharad Pawar (the cricket-mafia don and ‘noted’ NCP politician who incidentally is also the Agriculture Minister!)

    Central and State Govts specifically know who are the key cartels, hoarders, exporters and bulk-traders. Regretfully, since all the criminals are currently, massively funding the next election expenses, onion prices will remain very high for at least another month.

    Once the national elections are around 3-4 weeks away, the onion prices will crash. Since the ruling party has had more than enough black money ‘bribes hoarded’ by then, it can finally let the common man breathe with new Onion prices. Rahul Pappu can now scream nationwide that his mummy stopped the ISI’s plan to hijack onions.

    The entire ‘farmers are gaining with good prices’, hoarding excuse story, bad monsoon..et al, by the likes of Sharad Pawar, Anand Sharma, Sonia Madam, Rahul Babu and the senior Cong-I leadership is a mere facade…not a shred of evidence.

    Meanwhile, capitalizing further on the Onion scam, the Govt has just issued permits for select NCP and Cong-I billionaire traders to import onions. Incidentally the same flunkies who have licensees to export! What is shocking is that the GM Onions shortly to be being imported from China and Egypt, are actually much cheaper because they have been “totally banned” by most of the advanced, health conscious countries! Genetic engineering fruits or vegetables must be completely banned from being imported to from India before it’s too late. The media needs to exposure this immediately!

    Cartels, monopoly, lobby’s, mega-scam’s..etc have been a hallmark of the Cong-I, NCP, SP, RJD, DMK, BSP..etc. As long as we have the most insensitive, shamelessly corrupt politicians and their well-fed clans ruling this country as a fountainhead of evil, the so-called iconic business families, industrialists and fixers will always be greedy and total suckers!

  20. shiv Says:

    Srinath Reddy – What i suspected you have written in detail.I used to wonder when I visit vegetable market/s,, uniformly all quote the same price.How is it possible that a small vendor in malleswaram quote a price which matches what a vendor quotes in banaswadi? I found similar situation when I lived in Mumbai and Chennai.llooks like the agricultural produce are controlled by vested interests who are making phenominal profits at the cost of farmers and consumers.who will bell the cat?

  21. Fernandes Says:

    Let us take a look back:

    • The four times Italian PM, Viz., Silvio Berlusconi who commands a monopoly over the media through his channels and newspapers, owner of AC Milan and has a ‘official’ net worth of US$ 20 billion, was convicted of abuse of office, corruption and tax-fraud. And arrested!
    • In Egypt a supremely corrupt Hosni Mubarak was overthrown and sentenced to life in prison.
    • In Tunisia, the all-powerful leader for life, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was surrounded by mobs of middle-class and poor starving people but managed to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia
    • In Iraq, Saddam Hussein put on trial and hanged!
    • In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown, killed and dragged on the road!

    W.r.t India in 2014, a better aware-middle class, extraordinary-life threatening inflation, acute corruption and the clear possibility of a massive, nationwide Modi-wave or revolution in our own doorsteps, I wonder what will happen to the numero-uno Italian Madam, ‘shehzada’ (golden-spoon prince), Mauni Mohan Singh, most loyal ex-Finance Minister, the entire ruling cabinet of ruthless-insensitive dacoits, Cong-I and UPA Chief Ministers, Cong-I fixers like Digvijay Singh, Ahmed Patel, Vohra, Oscar, Deora…etc, apart from the super corrupt leaders of SP, BSP, NC, DMK, RJD..etc.

    Well, based on history and despite the odds, regretfully: we can all be sure that the top honcho’s of the Cong-I as well as key leaders and allies in record-breaking mega-scams, like NCP, NC, SP, DMK, BSP, JMM..etc apart from top billionaire industrialists, have definitely planned a detailed action plan, thanks to expertise and proactive help from CBI, RAW..etc, for a fail-safe escape strategy with instant activation.

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