Parts 1-5 of this series can be accessed here. This is the concluding part.
How a Cabal thwarted every new idea that could benefit India
There is a loosely formed Cabal, an exclusive club that oversees every aspect of India that could grow to size and significance. This mostly opaque group silently watches every growing business and assesses whether it would pose a threat to their deep-rooted interests built on expropriation and exploitation. If there is a challenge to this well-entrenched order, then the cabal would begin exploring ways to curtail its growth or if possible cut it off at the roots itself. I could have called them the New East India Company but Cabal is simpler and easier to remember.
The amount of influence exerted by this Cabal has to be seen to be believed. If the Modi government is seen as not being able to deliver on anti-corruption, look no further than the influence of the Cabal. It can guarantee outcomes for the most part (2G verdict was an aberration), and ensure that their narrative becomes the truth. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How is it that only a few group companies tend to get into every sector that matters? (Telecommunications, Infrastructure building, Refining, Finance etc.)
- What happens when an upstart tries to breach the walls they put up and start challenging the status quo?
- Most of the group companies were running up losses yet Banks (at least during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) era) were always willing to lend more. Why did this happen?
Cabal Controls Babudom
It is alleged that as soon as an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer rises to the level of Joint Secretary/ Additional Secretary, he/ she is cultivated and marked. Small nudges in policy to favor a certain group, curbs on the other – you get the idea. There are exceptions to this rule and it is these exceptions on whom the nation depends on, for justice. With luck, hard work and connections, some rise to the level of Secretary, which is one of the highest posts in that department. For the most part, the manoeuvring is done through a set of politicians, who will magically get the same ministry, regardless of their intellect or ability. If any of you have watched The Accidental PM, you will know how Mr. P Chidambaram (PC) gets the Finance Portfolio, practically snatching it from the presumptive Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. On sending the VVIP corrupt to jail, recollect what Dr. Subramanian Swamy said, way back in 2016 –
My next project is to expose 27 bureaucrats who are in various Ministries and loyal to TDK. They were handpicked and positioned by PC.
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) June 19, 2016
The logical question that follows is how many of the 27 mentioned above were moved out or fired? You can do this math by going through the posts of PGurus since 2016 and mention it as comments to this post. After a couple of years, Dr. Swamy honed in on the Gang of Four, pointing them to Modi and the nation, saying that unless these four are unseated, Chidambaram (and by extension the corrupt gang of UPA) will not see Tihar jail. As it turned out, only two of the Gang got evicted (and one appears to have already been rehabilitated) and the other two are still firmly ensconced. And the Chidambaram family roams free.
Unless PM dismantles the Gang of Four, our actions on corruption will fail.
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) June 25, 2018
Evil genius had a nice money making system going until…
The money train devised around the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was making enormous profits for a favoured few. Since the Bombay Stock Exchange and regional exchanges had been vanquished, NSE was the only entity left standing. Until the Financial Technologies India Limited (FTIL) group stormed the financial markets with a series of exchanges, each handily beating the equivalent offerings from the NSE. Chidambaram had tried other means to thwart FTIL but Jignesh Shah was on a mission and wanted to have a full-fledged stock exchange to rival the NSE and this is what got PC’s goat. In a set of carefully orchestrated moves, a crisis was manufactured in the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) and used to decimate Shah. Once this was accomplished, the cabal managed to restore status quo.
The government is not supposed to play favourites in the market. For this alone, PC and his C-Company minions should be punished. Some of them went the extra mile (er, kilometre), as follows:
|Ramesh Abhishek and his abuse of regulatory powers|
|THE CONTRACT IN QUESTION IS STILL TO BE PROVED ILLEGAL||Trading of a particular contract at NSEL that he took objection to and for which he stopped the functioning of the exchange on the charge that it is illegal is yet to be proved|
|MISSING OR LOSING MINUTES OF A VITAL MEETING||That the minutes of the meeting held, with all the stakeholders, on 4th August, 2013 immediately after the payment default where it seemed the problem was sorted out to the satisfaction of all the parties seems to be missing and not traceable|
|SUPPRESSION OF A VITAL EOW INVESTIGATION REPORT||Shri Rajvardhan Sinha, Additional Commissioner, Economic Offences Wing, Mumbai sent a detailed letter on market abuses by brokers was not acted upon but instead it was suppressed. Still not clear at whose behest and for what purpose.|
|NOT ADHERING TO A PRINCIPLE AS FOLLOWED FOR A RIVAL EXCHANGE OF NSEL||Government in 2008 granted exemption to NSpot, promoted by NCDEX, a subsidiary of National Stock Exchange, and insulated NCDEX from all acts of the subsidiary by making both of these separate and independent. DCA on 8th August 2011, advised MOF, that this principle will be applicable for all spot exchanges. Yet Ramesh Abhishek flouted this principle while attacking FTIL for the payment problem at NSEL that was triggered by his rash action in the first place.|
|BREACHING THE REGULATORY BRIEF AND PROTOCOL||Without any valid evidence and going beyond his regulatory brief, he declared FTIL and its promoter “Not Fit and Proper” without a similar action on the key players such as brokers and defaulter and recommended merger of NSEL with FTIL which has become a vexatious issue as also unconstitutional.|
|MISLEADING THE MARKETS||The NSEL crisis being a creation by none other than himself, he misled the public, the agencies and the media on various aspects and did not solve a problem that was easily solvable.|
How can the government overlook such regulatory transgression by a senior IAS officer?
What about the Mainstream Media?
Media that discusses minutely about market developments – how come it let such severe lapses go without any scrutiny or discussion? Who instigated the witch hunt against FTIL and Shah following NSEL being declared not fit and proper? Now that the truth is emerging, will the same media eat back their vomit?
SEBI: All are equal before the law
With so much of evidence established in the last five years against brokers, how come the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) could think of such a lame action of declaring closed entities of the top five brokers as not fit and proper that does not in any manner affect their current business or future growth? What message is being sent when the same players in the same case are being treated differently? One gets hit with an iron fist and the others are being treated with kid gloves.
How come the principal accused are let off lightly whereas the exchange and its promoters were given severe punishment?
Commodities cartel does price-fixing of pulses
What did the market gain from the FMC action? Almost nothing. As can be seen from the recent exposure by Reuters of collusion between major commodity players such as Glencore, the Export Trading Group and Edelweiss in price rigging in pulses in 2016. NSEL could have been a handy instrument in efficient price discovery process by wider participation of commodity players than being fixed by a few and select devoid of any transparency. The business that NSEL did in 2013 has not been reached by any other player even after five years speaks of how the hard work of the exchange was wantonly destroyed by a greedy bureaucrat eager to serve his masters for the sole purpose of self-interest.
India should watch out for such value destroyers! They should not be allowed to go scot free. It is important to subject them to the utmost form of punishment and penalty so that other officers will think twice before committing such dishonest and evil acts. Make any public office free from such marauding mandarins messing up the growth of markets in a callous manner. Will the government do it? Only time will tell.
 Indian antitrust watchdog raids Glencore business, others over pulse prices – sources Mar 16, 2019, Reuters.com