We have attempted here to describe the enormity of the plunder P. Chidambaram as UPA’s Finance Minister, indulged in; which spared no Indian at all
A lawyer with his suitcase can steal much more than 20 hoodlums with their machine guns…
– Don Vito Corleone, in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather
For the benefit of our readers who do not dabble in the stock exchanges, and who somehow may have had a feeling that the NSE scam doesn’t concern them, we have attempted here to describe the enormity of the plunder P. Chidambaram as UPA’s Finance Minister, indulged in; which spared no Indian at all. Every Indian suffered from P.Chidambaram in his role as a devilish finance minister, more particularly due to the role he played in the NSE scam.
For the benefit of our readers, we will avoid using any jargon and keep the narration simple, with only the necessary details shared. For details, the reader is requested to click on embedded links.
Imagine every train ticket is Tatkal, Ajay Garg, merely a lieutenant of the IAS officer-in-charge of the IRCTC portal, who in-turn has sold his soul to the corrupt Railway Minister; with a dummy rubber-stamp Prime Minister officiating at the top.
First, the NSE scam:
To have an inkling of what Chidambaram did, refer the recent IRCTC scam. Any Indian who may have attempted to purchase the prized Tatkal tickets, when the IRCTC scam was in effect, must have invariably experienced that even before he could fill in the ticket details in the IRCTC portal, the limited number of Tatkal tickets were sold out. If you somehow did manage to purchase a Tatkal ticket, you (99 out of 100 times) ended up with a wait-listed ticket, which while booking in Tatkal, means meaningless; with the additional slap of paying an exorbitant, non-refundable ‘minimum’ charges, for booking a useless ticket.
The main culprit here in the IRCTC scam was a rogue ex-employee of IRCTC , Ajay Garg, who while fully understanding the intricacies as well as limitations of the backend software driving the IRCTC portal during his four year stint as a programmer in IRCTC from 2007 to 2011; developed an application code-named NEO, which he sold to unscrupulous Railway Ticketing Agents, who then sold the Tatkal tickets thus booked through NEO at exorbitant premiums to unsuspecting Railway travelers like you and me. Garg and his ‘chief distributor’ Anil Kumar Gupta pocketed handsome ‘license fees’ from the agents who ‘leased’ this elusive app NEO, from them.
Elaborating a little more, NEO, the illegal IRCTC application, ensured that the unscrupulous agents booking Tatkal tickets were ALWAYS selected and served first by the unsuspecting IRCTC portal. NEO gave the agents booking Tatkal tickets an illegal as well as an unassailable edge over hundreds of thousands of normal travelers attempting to book the prized Tatkal tickets through the IRCTC portal. These agents then sold these very tickets to hapless customers like you and me for a neat, tax-free, sweat-free, fat commission.
Now, imagine every train ticket is Tatkal, Ajay Garg is not an employee gone rogue, but merely a lieutenant of the IAS officer-in-charge of the IRCTC portal, who in-turn has sold his soul to the corrupt Railway Minister; with a dummy rubber-stamp Prime Minister officiating at the top, and you can begin to get the picture.
Or to re-phrase the late Godfather Don Corleone: a lawyer with his suitcase, with the judge in his pocket, and also the Law/Home Minister in his pocket, with an impotent Prime Minister sitting at the top, can earn more than an entire army plundering a very rich nation!!
NSE has not always been the monopolistic exchange to deal with Shares, Currencies, Commodities, which it virtually became during Chidambaram’s tenure as Finance Minister.
Ajay Garg, with his masterly brainchild NEO, earned a piddly one crore Rupees for the five or so years this IRCTC-NEO scam was in operation and is now cooling his heels inside Tihar jail. Contrast that to the fifty to seventy-five thousand odd crores which P Chidambaram and his corrupt team reportedly minted for the 7-8 years the NSE scam was in operation and is still scot-free!!
(Beyond a point, these crores become just a number. To give you an estimate of this number, if you have Rs 50,000 crores, all in Rs 500 denomination, it would fill up an Olympic sized swimming pool if one uses the suitcase analogy of one ‘modern’ suitcase holding 5 crore rupees, instead of Harshad Mehta’s modest one crore bribe in Rs 100 denominations!!)
The NSE or National Stock Exchange is not just a place where rich, fat Gujjus buy and sell shares; but it’s an IRCTC like umbrella portal (website which allows interaction by end-users) where everything which is legally traded in India, like shares, foreign currency, commodities (dal, rice, wheat, sugar, spices) etc, is traded. It’s an IRCTC portal for the Banks, traders, Merchants and the like; anyone and everyone in any way related to the legal trading of Shares, Foreign Currency, Commodities, etc.
Unlike IRCTC, which is the sole online portal to legally purchase tickets for Indian Railway, NSE has not always been the monopolistic exchange to deal with Shares, Currencies, Commodities, which it virtually became during Chidambaram’s tenure as Finance Minister in the two UPA governments from 2004 to 2014. There were other competing exchanges like MCX (Multi Commodity Exchange) and BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) which Chidambaram did everything in his capacity as finance minister to destroy the same to bits. Whether a government-owned Bank or a billionaire Gujarati trader, one was left with no other option than to deal with the rigged NSE for their requirements, thereby ensuring a guaranteed extra income for the insatiable appetite of the Chidambarams.
We come to the final part. You might still be wondering that Banks and fat-cat Gujaratis were swindled by PC, how am I affected? You were, dear Amar, Akbar, Anthony or whatever your name is (or, more appropriately, whichever community, caste or sub-caste you belong to!!) Let me tell you how in which ways…
Unless India can ensure that the right investment goes to the right entity at the right time, creating jobs and prosperity for its growing population is going to be impossible.
(1) UPA (mis) rule saw prices of essential commodities (sugar, dal, pulses) touching record highs all thanks to the manipulation of the NSE’s Commodities Exchange by C-Company. The trader who has himself purchased Dal at Rs 150 a kilo will not sell it to you for Rs 75 a kilo!!
(2) Petrol became costlier than blood, all thanks to the foreign currency trading section of NSE being rigged by this same unimaginably corrupt C and the merry men who constitute his Company. In the 10 years of UPA rule, the Indian currency fell by 23 Rupees against the US dollar. US Dollar is required for all imports, including that of crude oil on which the nation runs. So, if a barrel of imported oil costs US $ 50, thanks to the steadily deteriorating rupee value (deteriorating not by itself but due to a rigged computer inside NSE); this same US $ 50 worth of barrel of petrol would now cost us Rs 7000 from the earlier Rs. 5000. (This $/Re translation not exact, just for information sake). No Indian escaped this swindle. If you recollect, multi-millionaire Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan had publicly groaned that inflation is getting out of hand for even a rich man like him.
(3) High Unemployment Rate: Unless India can ensure that the right investment goes to the right entity at the right time, creating jobs and prosperity for its growing population is going to be impossible. By rigging the NSE, C-Company, deprived tens of thousands of eligible companies of critical investment, which down the line aborted the employment opportunities for millions of young Indians. By rigging the NSE servers, only a few shell companies set-up by Karti (the son of PC) became unimaginably rich.
Chidambaram should well start a college offering MBA in money-making. Considering his expertise and proven skills, there’s no reason as to why he should let go off this legal money making opportunity!!
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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