Saturday, April 26, 2014

Half-hearted moves on black money

Government of India belatedly wrote to Swiss government seeking details of accounts maintained by Indians in Swiss banks. P.Chidambaram gave maximum publicity to this development with a view to creating a false image that our government is keen on nailing black money. This was a tactical ploy to defend the government against the findings of the Supreme Court that the government was guilty of contempt of court since it did not follow the court instructions given as early as 2011.

In all fairness, Chidambaram should release the letter containing the Swiss government's response. Instead he is only releasing some innocuous contents from the response and keeping the country in the dark about a crucial issue. GOI is following a consistent policy of protecting the owners of black money.

Who is responsible for Congress' decay?

Anirban Choudhury stated the obvious when he said, "This election season has been dirty: from name-calling to hate speeches, we have heard it all. But the one statement that takes the cake is a gem by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra where she says that the 'Congress will fight back against all those who have maligned the Gandhi family'."

Equating a family to a political party is turning democracy on its head. This results from a feeling of special entitlement which contradicts all canons of democratic decency. Priyanka GV's warning is a response to allegations against Robert Vadra. Feelings of grandeur which are manifest in expressions of family pride arise from pathological alienation from reality and remnants of nostalgia for grand old days.

We need not blame the Gandhi family exclusively for what is wrong with Congress. Why do the non-Gandhi leaders acquiesce in sycophantic worship of the Gandhis? Whether it is a case of hijack of a party by a family or an abject surrender by spineless leaders, the result is unspeakable tragedy for the party.

P.S. Addressing a rally in Rae Bareilly on 27th April, Priyanka GV said, " "It is your duty to protect the country and the 'dharma' of my family". So it is our duty to ensure that the Gandhi family continues to rule India!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Narendra Modi as Fareed Zakaria sees him

Time magazine identifies Congress' bete noire, Narendra Modi as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world. May be, this is stating the obvious. Here is the account by Fareed Zakaria:

"The divisive politician poised to lead the world's largest democracy

Elections are reactions, often negative reactions. That is surely the explanation for the breathtaking rise of Narendra Modi, who — if the opinion polls are accurate — is poised to become India’s next Prime Minister, and thus the world leader chosen by the largest electorate on the planet. India is currently ruled by Manmohan Singh, a mild-mannered 81-year-old technocrat with no political power of his own and a passive leadership style. Reverse every one of those traits and you have Modi, the charismatic, intense, utterly decisive head of Gujarat, one of India’s fastest-growing states. Most Indians believe that their country has lost its way as its growth rate has been almost halved while inflation has soared. Modi has a reputation for quick action, encouraging the private sector, and good governance. He also has a reputation for autocratic rule and a dark Hindu-nationalist streak. But those concerns are waning in a country desperate for change."

Myth of independent directorship

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon happens to be an 'independent director' in Infosys Ltd. It is obvious that she is not lured by money in accepting this position. In other words, prospects of hefty director fees cannot influence her. Does this ipso facto mean that she is really independent as a director?

She is an admirer of Narayanamurthy's talents and acumen. That is why she accepted the directorship. Her admiration for NRN vicariously translates into admiration for NRN'S son and protege, Rohan Murty. It was not surprising therefore that she could not resist the temptation to praise the latter at the least opportunity.

This is what led her to tweet an enthusiastic approval for Rohan Murty's "brilliant tech-loaded presentation" in a board meeting of Infosys.

Contrary to what the media claims, this perhaps is not a serious breach of corporate governance principles. After all, Shaw did not tweet the contents of presentation. But this interesting episode raises another important issue: How independent are independent directors? Is it really possible for someone chosen by a company's promoters to think unlike the promoters which quality is a prerequisite for true independence?

Updated on 28th April: Sundaram Finance Limited, a stickler for compliance with regulations, made the following announcement on 25th April.

"Sundaram Finance Ltd has informed BSE that Based on the declaration under Section 149 (7) of the Companies Act, 2013 submitted by Sri S Ravindran, Independent Director, informing that some of the criteria of independence as provided in Section 149 (6) of the Companies Act, 2013 are not being met in his case, the Board of Directors at their meeting held on April 25, 2014, decided to treat him as Non-Independent Director with immediate effect."

Companies feel that a director is a director, independent or otherwise. They do not seem to derive any additional benefit from an independent director. Nor do shareholders. Why should we persist with the myth?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Father's folly

Father Frazer Mascarenhas, Principal of the prestigious Xavier's College, Mumbai has advised the students that the Gujarat model of development is not good for the nation and this must be kept in view while exercising their voting rights. This is obviously an advisory against voting for Narendra Modi's party.

The Principal has disingenuously claimed that he is not canvassing for or against anyone or any party. Such a claim is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty, not expected of this erudite Father. Oh, Lord! Forgive the Father for he claims he knows not what he is doing.

It is stated that Xavier's College gets financial aid from the government. Therefore the legitimacy of its Principal expressing a political view officially is open to question. Resignation can  be the only moral atonement for Mascarenhas' misadventure. 

Supreme Court on black money

Supreme Court has made caustic comments on the government's disregard for the former's judgment delivered in July, 2011 for appointment of a Special Investigation Team and for taking steps against black money.

Seriousness of these comments is explicit from the following report:

"Centre faces ire of Supreme Court on blackmoney
22 Apr 2014, 2046 hrs IST, AGENCIES
The Centre on Tuesday (April 22) faced the ire of the Supreme Court for failing to implement its three-year-old directions including setting up of a SIT to probe all cases of black money and disclosing information received from Germany about individuals stashing money in Liechtenstein Bank. "It is totally contempt of our directions," a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu said while disapproving the contention of Solicitor General(SG) Mohan Parasaran that all the directions in July 4, 2011 judgement were inter-connected and disclosure of names received from Germany was to be done after the investigation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

"In our view the judgement has to be read disjunctively and not conjectively," the bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Madan B Lokur, said. "We have to take the statement of Solicitor General with a pinch of salt," it said and added that "We are not satisfied with the explanation of the SG". Parasaran had submitted that since investigation was being done by so many authorities, the Centre was to disclose names against whom show cause notices have been issued after the SIT probe.

Disagreeing with him, the bench said, "This has nothing to do with the SIT. Today we are very clear that you have to give the documents and information received from Germany about the account holders in Liechtenstein Bank. "Secondly, the investigation has to be taken over by the SIT. Thirdly, you have to disclose the names of those against whom show cause notices have been issued," the bench said while referring to its July 4, 2011 directions in which it was stated that the Centre had to "forthwith" comply with its order.

The bench was also surprised that three years after its direction it was informed today that its former judge, Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, who was appointed to head the 13-member SIT, had expressed his inability by a letter dated August 15, 2011 to lead the team which was reiterated by him through another letter of April 18, 2014 addressed to the Joint Secretary, Revenue Department. "How all of a sudden this letter has surfaced. We are surprised that August 15, 2011, letter did not surface in previous occasion," the bench said, referring to both the letters in which Justice Reddy only expressed his willingness to provide guidance and directions to the SIT.

The bench asked both the Centre and petitioners which included eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani to discuss and come out with the name of a former apex court judge who would agree to head the SIT. However, it clarified that the judge should be senior to former apex court judge M B Shah, who has been appointed Vice Chairman of the SIT. "Before constituting the SIT, the court was in touch with Justice Jeevan Reddy. Now both of you in consultation can come out with a common name so that it does not create any ripples and before mentioning the name, have a word with the judge. We don't want to suggest name of any judge," the bench said.

While posting the matter on April 29, the bench asked the Solicitor General to take proper instruction from the Revenue Secretary and also respond "What prevented them (Centre) to comply with the directions." Parasaran said he will come back at the next hearing after checking from Finance Ministry on what information can be shared by the Centre as per its agreement with respective countries on the information received on the issue of black money.

When the bench told the SG it was hearing the application filed by Jethmalani and others that the Centre has not complied with the order of disclosing the names of the account holders in Liechtenstein Bank, he said it can't be done unless the SIT is constituted. While the bench disagreed with him, senior advocate Anil Divan, appearing for Jethmalani said, "The direction is that the Union of India will forthwith give information, documents and materials received from Germany".

"If no stay is granted, the order has to be implemented. There is no stay of July 4, 2011 directions," he argued. Concurring with his arguments, the bench said, "You (Centre) are directed by the court to disclose names, materials received from Germany to petitioners and SIT will take over and carry out further investigation." The bench said the Centre's prayers are disjuncted and there were positive directions in July 4, 2011 judgement which stated "forthwith" and it does not mean that the information has to be disclosed after the SIT probe.

Further, the bench said earlier there was a review petition against the July 4, 2011 judgement which was dismissed and under its garb, the Centre avoided implementing its directions. The Supreme Court on March 26 had rejected the Centre's plea to recall its order for SIT to probe all cases of black money, saying it stepped in as for over six decades "the government failed to bring back the money stashed in foreign banks to the country".

Jethmalani had filed an application seeking directions to the government "to file list of names of those having accounts in Liechtenstein Bank with respect of whom investigations have been concluded, either partially or wholly, and show cause notices issued and proceedings initiated". He alleged that after July 4, 2011 judgement, “No steps have been taken by the respondents (Centre and its ministry concerned) in compliance with the directions of the apex court". "The respondents have brazenly and willfully flouted the directions of this court," he said."

Government's shameless efforts to protect the owners of black money are appalling.

GSK plc

Only last week, the MD of Indian subsidiary of GSK plc, GSK Pharma, told its shareholders in the AGM that the company would be introducing a colorectal cancer drug shortly. The company also looked forward to selling a drug for treatment of leukemia.

GSK plc has since announced that it is disposing its oncology products to Novartis. Does this mean that the parent company does not care enough for its subsidiary to evince interest in what is discussed in the latter's AGM? This also is tantamount to misleading the shareholders, intentionally or otherwise.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Robert Vadra

The Gandhi family seems to have an aversion for higher education. The notorious in-law, Robert Vadra, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, did not proceed beyond high school. Quotes from the article are given in italics:

The Wall Street Journal found that during the decade Mr. Vadra's in-laws have held sway in New Delhi, the 44-year-old with a high-school education and no experience in property development amassed a large real-estate portfolio. Based on a review of company filings, land records and interviews with property experts, the Journal calculated that through 2012, Mr. Vadra sold more than $12 million of property, and as of then he still held real estate valued at about $42 million. It isn't clear whether Mr. Vadra's companies have sold any more real estate since then because company filings for the past two years aren't available on government websites.

Of course, we can expect the Congress party to create records that Robert Vadra did study in Harvard or Cambridge.

When Congress, with Sonia Gandhi at the helm, retook power from the BJP in 2004, Mr. Vadra was running a small business exporting inexpensive costume jewelry. In late 2007 he went into the real-estate business, forming a firm called Sky Light Hospitality Private Ltd. with less than $2,000, according to company filings at the Registrar of Companies of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in New Delhi.
Early in 2008, Sky Light bought 3.5 acres of undeveloped land near a highway intersection in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon for $1.3 million, according to a sales document. Two months later, Mr. Vadra applied to the Congress-controlled state government for a license to convert the land to commercial use from agricultural. Preliminary permission was granted 18 days later, according to the license application and state approval. With that, the land became far more valuable.
Over the next four years, developer DLF Ltd. 532868.BY +1.01% poured millions of dollars into Mr. Vadra's company, reported on its balance sheet as "advances." Then in 2012, DLF said it bought the Gurgaon property from Mr. Vadra's company for a total of $9.7 million, most of which it had advanced in the preceding years. It was more than seven times his reported purchase price.

Mr. Vadra's Sky Light Hospitality did other deals in New Delhi and the nearby states of Haryana and Rajasthan. In 2008-09, it paid $5.3 million for a 50% interest in a hotel being built by DLF in New Delhi, a hotel valued at $33 million in 2012, according to a DLF calculation that year.
Another company controlled by Mr. Vadra, Sky Light Realty, acquired a penthouse apartment—estimated by brokers to now be worth $5 million—in a complex DLF built in Gurgaon called the Aralias.
That same Vadra company reported in its government filings for fiscal 2009 and 2010 that it bought seven apartments in a luxury complex built by DLF for $870,000.
They were worth close to $6 million at the time, real-estate brokers said. India Against Corruption, a grass-roots movement that has spawned an anticorruption political party called the Aam Admi Party, alleged that the transactions amounted to a ploy for DLF to give the Gandhi family property and money to curry favor. Congress party officials have repeatedly denied the allegation. Rahul Gandhi didn't respond to requests for comment, and a person in his office said he was too busy campaigning to respond.
DLF said Mr. Vadra's group actually paid much more than $870,000—it said the actual price was about $166 a square foot, which would add up to about $7 million. Today, the seven apartments are worth more than $16 million, real-estate brokers said.

All these disturbing details are already known to any Indian who cares to read newspapers or watch TV. If Modi, if he becomes PM, decides to overlook such daredevil dishonesty under the guise of not wanting to waste time, people will not only be disappointed but will also start doubting his sincerity.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Modi on corruption

A PTI report quotes Narendra Modi saying the following:

""My priority will be develop a system by which the scope of corruption is minimised. We have to decide either I should concentrate my efforts on preventing new corruption or to clean up the old mess. My conscience says that my focus should to be ensure that new mess (of corruption) is not created," he said.

"We have to decide whether I should focus my energy on preventing new corruption or waste time on cleaning up old mess," he added."

Modi's choice is perplexing. Condoning past corruption is not necessary to enable Modi to fight future corruption. In fact, being soft on past corruption will send a wrong message that time will absolve the corrupt of their illegality. In case he becomes prime minister, he must fight corruption, past, present and future.

Is Modi saying this only to justify possible inaction against the corrupt in his own party?

Many countries do not go soft on those who had been corrupt in the past. For instance, Ehud Olmert, a former prime minister of Israel was recently convicted of bribery while serving as mayor of Jerusalem. Any policy other than zero tolerance towards corruption smacks of suspect political accommodation.

Rahul Gandhi's ignorance

Rahul Gandhi is politically amateurish. That does not mean that he cannot aspire to or be pushed towards prime ministership. But he also happens to be ignorant about basic facts. And that is really troubling.

Either political astuteness or basic intelligence is essential to lead a nation. Combination of both is desirable.

The following is a report from The Hindu:

"“Modi sahab talks about his Gujarat model. What has he done? He deprived the poor farmers of their land to give away 35,000 acre of agricultural land to industrialist Adani at Rs one per metre,” Mr. Gandhi said at an election meeting here.
“Adani then sold the land at Rs 800 per metre. His industry grew from a Rs 3000 crore company to a Rs 40,000 crore company now just by selling farmers land at high cost and not through production. This he calls the Gujarat model,” Mr. Gandhi said.
“A toffee sells at Rs one per piece here. If you give a toffee, the Gujarat government will give you one metre of land if you are Adani,” the Congress leader said." Unquote.
In the recent past, Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly referred to 'metre of land'. Why is it that his advisers too are not correcting him? Have they given up on him?

Friday, April 18, 2014

McKinsey and Mukesh Ambani : Consultant and client : Cosy relationship

How do consultancy firms market themselves? The time-tested principle is simple: Employ the client first and then automatically get consultancy assignments.

Mukesh Ambani's daughter has joined McKinsey. She has graduated in psychology and south Asian studies. She plays the piano. It is not difficult to guess why the consultant has absorbed her.

Adil Zainulbhai, a former Chairman of McKinsey India was recently appointed an "independent director" on the Board of Reliance Industries Limited. An independent director is expected to safeguard the interests of all shareholders without being obliged to any major shareholder. Adil Zainulbhai has to be extremely stoic to remain independent.

Crony capitalism has multiple avatars.

Postal holidays

Visit to post office has become a rarity. I had occasion to go to a post office today. I was not sure if it would be open since today is Good Friday. When searching for clarification, I realised a particular oddity of postal holidays. In the current year, post offices are closed for 14 days. These holidays pertain to religious functions and national events. The break-up is revealing:

Muslim functions:     4 holidays
Hindu functions  :     2 holidays
Christian functions :  2 holidays
Sikh function         : 1 holiday
Buddhist function  :  1 holiday
Jain function          : 1 holiday
Other reasons       : 3 holidays

Total                    : 14 holidays

The list is given below:


Post Office Closed Holidays - 2014
The Post offices will be closed on the following days all over India
2.REPUBLIC DAY26-01-2014Sunday
3.MAHAVIR JAYANTI13-04-2014Sunday
4.GOOD FRIDAY18-04-2014Friday
5.BUDDHA PURNIMA14-05-2014Wednesday
7.INDEPENDENCE DAY15-08-2014Friday
10.IDU-UL-ZUHA (BAKRID)06-10-2014Monday
11.DIWALI (DEEPAVALI)23-10-2014Thursday
13.GURUNANAK'S BIRTHDAY06-11-2014Thursday

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunanda Pushkar

What happened to MH 370 continues to be a mystery because there are as yet no reliable clues. In contrast, what happened to Sunanda Pushkar is allowed to remain a mystery despite the presence of tangible, actionable clues. When a murder is suspected, the police has to investigate. When the police does not have a free hand, in all fairness and to protect justice, the judiciary has to intervene suo moto.

Sanjaya Baru has explained in his book 'The Accidental Prime Minister' how the prime minister is totally led by Sonia Gandhi. Therefore he is powerless to remove Shashi Tharoor from his ministry even if he suspects the worst.

A law-abiding country has to ensure that in cases where the victim is dead and the victim's close relatives are silenced because the suspect is powerful, justice is not forsaken by the indifference of judiciary.

The following report appeared recently in Times of India. It is not surprising that many newspapers did not take the risk of offending the powerful by giving justified coverage.

"THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Writer Madhu Kishwar who was in Thiruvananthapuram to launch her book 'Modi Media and Muslims' said she wasn't surprised that the Congress had offered a ticket to Shahsi Tharoor given that the party was able to do a good job in hushing up the investigation pertaining to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. 

Kishwar said that she wouldn't call Sunanda Pushkar a friend, but Tharoor's wife was very good friends with Kishwar's good friends and she often confided in them. "I knew Sunanda Pushkar was unhappy in her marriage and there is little doubt in my mind that she was murdered. Everyone who knows Tharoor, knows that he is a womanizer. Shashi Tharoor was abusing her, she confided in my friend. Their marriage was an absolute mess. They were fighting in public all the time," said the author-activist at the launch of her book at Rangavilasom Palace, Thiruvananthapuram. 

Kishwar said she doesn't like to waste mind-space for gossip, "but I remembered that Sunanda complained about how her husband was living off her. Sunanda said that her husband was making her pay for everything. She said, "When I married this UN diplomat I thought that he would have enough money to at least take care of himself but he even made me pay for his wedding Sherwani. Which man does that?" Sunanda Pushkar has enough friends in the media, why isn't anyone standing up for her. The media has buried her story with the help of Congress. The snoopgate against Modi on the other hand is still an election issue," Kishwar said. "

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"There is no Modi wave"

In the face of contradictory views aired every day, I decided to see for myself whether Modi wave is a reality or just an invention of confused minds. I spent an hour at the Marina in broad daylight yesterday. I can now declare with utmost authenticity that there is no Modi wave.

I have sent an email to Soniaji conveying my incontrovertible finding. I copied the mail to Manmohanji. I need not have sent the cc to prime minister. As Sanjaya Baru has not said in his book "Accidental Prime Minister: Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh", the prime minister is not authorised to read any communication that is addressed to him before it is seen and acted upon by Soniaji. There is a fool-proof arrangement in place by which any communication to MMS, whether email or snailmail, is automatically routed to Sonia Gandhi. If it is unimportant enough to be independently dealt with by the prime minister, Soniaji reroutes it to MMS. If the matter is important, the Congress President writes her orders in a coded language intelligible to only the prime minister and forwards it to him. The moment MMS takes appropriate action, the ink in which the coded instruction is written disappears automatically. The ink has an additional quality. Till the appropriate action is taken by him, Manmohanji will not be able to sleep. If MMS takes a contrary decision, he will suffer from unbearable pain. Being intelligent, Manmohanji has not experimented on this even once.

Soniaji and Rahulji have unnecessarily, and perhaps because of their nobility, elevated Narendra Modi to the position of a magician. I have assured the Family that they need not worry. Modi does not even know the magic of making an inconvenient file disappear at his will. What magician is he?

India's National Newspaper publishes two opinion pieces everyday demolishing the false theory of Modi wave and Modi magic and assuring the nation that there is no reason for the corrupt to be anxious about their future as it is impossible for the Modi menace to last long.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rajat Gupta's blunder?

Rajat Gupta's conviction on insider trading charges has been confirmed by a three-judge panel of the appeals court causing yet another blow to his plans to prove his innocence.

The allegation against the former McKinsey chief is that he divulged confidential and price-sensitive information to Raj Rajaratnam of the Galleon Fund. Gupta's lawyers argue, either at his instance or atleast with his approval, that he was furious with Raj Rajaratnam for cheating him in a joint investment fund and therefore he would not have leaked any beneficial information to Rajaratnam. This argument is a curious admission that under normal circumstances Gupta could have leaked price-sensitive information. The defense team has demeaned itself and in the process weakened its case.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Why India produces more CEOs for MNCs than China

Following PTI report explains why we should thank our government for scoring over China. Had we developed as fast as China, our successful business leaders would not have been in America, Germany etc.

"PTI | Apr 4, 2014, 02.42PM IST
NEW YORK: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joining the growing list of India-born chiefs at the helm of American companies has caused a "bit of a stir" in China, according to a media report.

The Wall Street Journal report titled 'Why China Doesn't Export World-Class CEOs' also said Indians' good command over the English language and their willingness to move gives them an edge over their Chinese counterparts to get the top jobs.

"Language and familiarity with Western culture are the obvious reasons why chief executives such as Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Inc, Anshu Jain of Deutsche Bank and MasterCard Inc'sAjay Banga have succeeded in the west. But headhunters also say Indians are more willing to move more than Chinese, who see more opportunity and good pay at home," it said
The report said that Nadella's appointment as CEO has "caused a bit of a stir in China, where people are questioning why Indians but not Chinese are getting top jobs in the US."

The other reasons cited by the report are the high pay and advancement opportunities that are keeping many Chinese executives at home.

It said annual salaries for management positions at the director level in China are already at about USD 131,000, which is four times as much as in India, where executives at that level earn USD 35,000 on average.

The report said that while India remains a "tough" place to live, China has become more comfortable in recent years, offering a good lifestyle to expatriates.

"How do you get a Chinese to move to Brazil in a developmental sequence? That's a big challenge," said Emmanuel Hemmerle, a senior adviser to Korn Ferry, an executive search firm.

"China is such a high-growth market. Everyone sees that's where the opportunity is."

China, however, suffers from a "shortage" of top talent, despite its enormous pool of university graduates, with 7.3 million more expected in 2014, the report said, citing consulting firm McKinsey that fewer than 10 per cent of Chinese job candidates would be suitable for work in a foreign company because of their "poor command of English and an education system that focuses on theory rather than practical skills."

Another reason why Chinese executives do not flock to western companies is that state-owned enterprises and private companies are bidding for home-grown talent.

"With so much attention lavished on the most promising executives in China, many feel their opportunities are greater at home than abroad," the WSJ report said.

In some cases, multinational companies also want to keep their best Chinese executives inside China because the market is so important to them.

A downside to being too attached to China is the risk that Chinese executives are overtaken in their careers by the next wave of Chinese managers, many of whom have better language skills and a broader world view."

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Jugglery in Public Finance

It is well known that public finance, unlike personal finance, is open to many sleights of hand. P.Chidambaram has proved to be a master magician, an alchemist who does not need even base metals to come up with gold.

The Budget Estimate for fiscal deficit for 2013-14 was 4.8% of GDP. It was revised to 4.6% by Chidambaram to prove his fiscal adroitness. In the eleven-month period ended 28th February, the fiscal deficit was 114% of revised estimate (in terms of actual amount). In a logical sense this means that GDP should rise by atleast 14% over and above what was budgeted if the fiscal deficit target of 4.6% is not to be exceeded. Obviously, this is not to be.

So what is the proposed magic? It is the simple trick of postponing March expenditure to April and to take credit in March for whatever income is normally due next year. Public Sector navratnas and banking cash cows have been 'advised' to release generous interim dividends.

Managing personal finances is difficult. Managing the nation's finances seems to be child's play!

Deep flaws and deep bites

P.Chidambaram has discovered deep character flaws in the personality of Narendra Modi. He is surprised that no BJP leader has tried to correct him.

Character flaws are difficult to identify. Chidambaram should have used all his psychological skills to unearth the flaws.

The doctors who autopsied Sunanda Pushkar did not require such phenomenal skills to spot deep teeth bites in her palm. It is a pity that these doctors did not have the 'Chidambaram sense' to identify the culprit. Shashi Tharoor is lucky that Chidambaram is not a doctor.

Why do we have a tendency to miss the obvious and go after the enigmatic?

First Leasing Company

Farouk Irani was considered a legendary figure in financial circles for initiating the practice of leasing finance in India. The company promoted by him and A.C.Muthiah was a pioneer in the field.

It is a pity that this company has now come to total grief. Forensic auditors are trying to figure out how a substantial sum of Rs.1,000 crore has been spirited away. A.C.Muthiah and Irani have quit their positions as Chairman and President respectively.

The interesting part of this development is the Chairman blaming the President for keeping him in the dark about the fraud and the President, in turn, blaming the CFO. Well done!

Would the shareholders file a class action suit against the fraudsters?

Supreme Courts: India and Pakistan

Supreme Court of Pakistan has now declared the emergency imposed by Perez Musharraf unconstitutional and therefore brought him to book for treason. It does not need much courage to hold a former president guilty. But this perhaps points out that law takes its own course, however belatedly, in our neighbouring country.

Indira Gandhi performed a similar unconstitutional act in India. At that time, our Supreme Court expressed a few cliches on 'democratic dharma' and let the matter pass. The supreme court did not find it necessary to pass strictures against this undemocratic act then or any time later. In India, law has a tendency to stand still.