Friday, November 26, 2010

Scandals galore.....

This has been a thrilling couple of months. It's like an early Christmas for the CBI. Seriously if it was a private organisation, I'd be tempted to say it was appraisal time! 4 scams in 2 months! And if the squawk box is to be believed, there are a few more to come. We're literally seeing that whole 'opening a can of worms' scenario playing out. Arrests have been made, leads are being followed and summons being sent left right and centre - with more to come. Unfortunately nothing ever concludes. In the last couple of months we've had the CWG scam, the 2G scam, the MFI scam, the Nira Radia tapes and now the Bribery and Corruption scam. Today the environment ministry jumped on the media bandwagon and have issued show cause notices to 3 listed corporates who summarily tanked! Whole different can of worms there....Now the cases go to court and we wait a couple of decades before the courts decided to
a) let the accused off on bail 
b) fine them a fraction of what they took 
c) throw out the case on a technicality
d) adjourn it further
Pretty standard stuff. Of course no one's really going to bother covering it after a while because something newer and shinier will be there to distract the fourth estate and its avid viewers. Maybe Pamela Anderson will come back to the Big Boss never know.... Other than a passing mention on the 2G scandal, there's been a deafening silence on the MFI mess, the Nira Radia tapes and the CWG scam.

Funnily enough, in the larger scheme of things, the bribery scandal isn't as damaging as the 2G or CWG scams, and certainly no where near as shocking as the Nira Radia tapes. Everyone knows a little something-something flows back. Elemental physics when dealing with liquidity in the real world. What really cracks me up though are the amounts mentioned. Quite frankly they aren't even enough to buy a house in Mumbai! I mean seriously! Roti, kapda and makaan.... well food inflation, September, October and November rains coupled with a severe lack of storage facilities is going to make the roti (and rice) rather pricey, zooming cotton prices and a lively cotton futures market is going to make the kapda expensive and makaan....? Heck don't even get me started on that. Frankly the amounts mentioned might just help them out with the down payment. I'm not condoning it, I'm just saying that the practice of 'chai paani' has been around a lot longer than the bull market. As long as prices keep rising and pensions remain uncertain, people will do their level best to make as much money as they possibly can. Its a self preservation thing. Once you're out of a position of power the law of the jungle takes over. Best plan for that bleak timewhile you still can. We've all seen hockey and athletic stars end up in menial jobs struggling to make their next meal. India is not kind to the weak, the sick or the old. If you're not healthy and rich, you're probably better off dead.

And how could I forget my namesake in North Korea who's happily lobbing everything but the kitchen sink at the South Koreans. They in turn aren't entirely sure what to do about it. Its recession time after all, one must be practical. So you saw the immediate retaliation followed by a flurry of meetings and press conferences. With practically every potential ally struggling to pay their country's debts, they're looking quite lonely out there. Although an all out war is a worry, lets be practical about this. Who's got the cash to afford a war with a megalomaniac dictator? Not such a bright idea now, is it? One needs allies, and right now the allies are rather concerned about whether or not to pull out the old begging bowl. So now Korea has a choice. Does it give in to its baser self and return the favor with interest or does it do the 'right' thing and call for a mediator, go crying to various international agencies blah, blah, blah. Kinda hard to fight fair when your opponent has no such qualms. Oh the price of conformity.....

Good times ahead. Quite the reverse of the calm consolidation that prevailed during my last post. Such fun not knowing what the heck's gonna hit tomorrow. Adios....