· Jeep Scam of 1947 : V. K. Krishna Menon, India’s High Commissioner to Britain was involved. Indian army needed Jeeps to travel in difficult terrain of Kashmir. The Jeeps were of poor quality. It was supplied after the War was over. Ananthasayanam Iyengar Committee was constituted to probe the scam. It had submitted its report which till date has not been made public.
· First corrupt politician jailed in 1949 : The then Industries Minister of Vindhya Pradesh, Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh was caught red handed receiving a bribe of Rs 25,000 for renewing a diamond mine lease in Patna. Singh was imprisoned for 3 years. The first Congress leader of India to go to jail.
· First bureaucrat jailed in 1951: There existed a quota for import of cycle parts, and it was given to a sole importer benefiting that particular importer and in this scam Union Industries and Commerce Secretary S.A.Venkatraman was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
· Dalmia case 1956 : Ramakrishna Dalmia, then chairman of Dalmia-Jain Airways and owner of Bharat Insurance Company, admitted in a written confession that he had embezzled funds to the tune of Rs.2.2 crore from his insurance company. He faced trial and was sentenced to two years in jail. More importantly, the scandal led to the nationalization of the insurance sector.
· Mundra Scam of 1957 : Life Insurance Corporation of India was influenced by Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari to lend Haridas Mundra of Kanpur Rs 1 crore by purchasing shares in his firms with no real standing in order to boost the prices of those companies in the stock market. Feroze Gandhi was credited with having sourced the confidential correspondence between the then Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari and his finance secretary and raised a question in the parliament. Haridas Mundra was jailed for 22 months. The Finance Secretary was indicted. Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari had to resign earning the reputation as the first Union Minister of India to step down due to corruption.
· Punjab Chief Minister Scam, 1964 : The first Chief Minister of India to fall prey to corruption was Punjab Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon. Dass Commission of Enquiry indicted him and he had to step down from office.
· Dharma Teja, 1962 : Jayanthi Dharma Teja set up a shipping company with a paid up capital of Rs 200 only. A Nehruvian recommendation got that company Rs 22 crore as loan. Jayanthi Shipping Company of Dharma Teja pocketed all advance payments in his Leichtenstein bank account. In this scam finally Dharma Teja was arrested in London in the year 1970 . He got six years imprisonment. But he escaped and is still an absconder.
· Nagarwala Mystery of 1971 : State Bank of India chief cashier got a phone call from someone speaking in Indira Gandhi’s voice directing him to handover Rs 60 lakhs to her messenger, a former army officer Rustom Sorab Nagarwala . The bank allowed Nagarwala to withdraw 60 lakhs with just one unverified phone call. Nagarwala got killed in a road accident and the mystery still persists, who killed Nagarwala?
· Maruti Udyog Scam, 1970s: A private limited company named 'Maruti technical services private limited' (MTSPL) is launched on November 16, 1970. The stated purpose of this company was to provide technical know-how for the design, manufacture and assembly of "a wholly indigenous motor car". In June 1971, to produce the car, a company called 'Maruti limited' was incorporated under the Companies Act and Sanjay Gandhi became its first managing director. By a formal agreement dated 26 February 1973 between Sonia Gandhi 'and Maruti Technical Services Private Ltd, she was appointed its Managing Director, along with Sanjay Gandhi, for five years at a salary of Rs 2,000 per month plus commission and perks. In the same year, MTSPL enters into an agreement with Maruti Limited to supply the company with technical know-how for the “design, manufacture and assembly in India of a wholly indigenous motor car”. Under patronage of Indira Gandhi’s Government the company receives land, tax breaks and funds. 330 acres of land are provided by the Haryana government at Gurgaon near New Delhi and nationalized banks provide substantial amounts in loans (Shirali, 1984; Business Standard, 2002; Shenoy, 2003) for the new company.
There was also an agreement concluded on Fools' Day 1975 between Maruti Technical Services P Ltd. and Maruti Heavy Vehicles P Ltd, a sister concern of Maruti Limited, for sale of technical know-how by the former for manufacturing road rollers. The company proves incapable of producing a single marketable car. The problem lies in the inexperience in automobile production of the members who compose the company’s top management. Maruti limited’s problems culminate in the company’s liquidation in 1977. At that point in time, the company’s achievements comprise of little more than some ten to twelve hand made prototypes of different design, which are “fabricated and purchased in parts” (Prakash, 1999: p.1). A commission of inquiry headed by Justice A. C. Gupta was setup in 1978, which probed the 'Maruti scandal'. Justice Gupta found it "surprising that Shrimati Sonia Gandhi who did not have any technical qualification should be appointed Managing Director of a technical company". Justice Gupta observed: "It has been found that Maruti Technical Services was not competent to render technical know-how in respect of motor cars. There is no evidence that it had the know-how in respect of road rollers."
· Puducherry Licence Scam of 1974 : Puducherry merchants submitted a memorandum signed by 21 Members of Parliament with forged signatures to the Union Commerce Ministry seeking import licenses. Tulmohan Ram M.P alleged to be directed by Indira Gandhi’s aide Lalit Narayan Mishra of Bihar got these forged signatures and this scam rocked the Parliament. Lalit Narain Mishra got killed in Samastipur blast that occurred in 1975.
· The Maharashtra cement scandal involved Chief Minister Abdul Rehman Antulay. Antulay was forced to resign when the Bombay High Court ruled that he had illegally required builders in the Bombay (Mumbai) area to make donations to the Indira Gandhi Pratibha Prathisthan, one of several trust funds he had established and controlled, in exchange for receiving more cement than the government quota allowed them to buy.
· The Thal-Vaishet project scam: This involved Snamprogetti and its representative Ottavio Quattrocchi. Snamprogetti had approximately 50 per cent share in Haldor Topsoe. An engineering consultancy contract for setting up fertilizer projects at Thal Vaishet and Hazira were awarded to Haldor Topsoe and Pullman Kellogg in violation of norms. The accused in Thal Vaishet case included Petroleum Secretary H.N. Bahuguna and Petroleum Minister P.C. Sethi. It should be noted that all the Urea/Fertilizer projects in India in the 1980-90s had been contracted to Snam/Topse.
· Arjun Singh’s Lottery Scam, 1982 : Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh was alleged to have received Rs. 5.4 crore through Churhat (Blind) Children’s Welfare Society but Bhopal High Court exonerated him.
· Dhirubhai Ambani’s Reliance : Reliance was accused of rigging the stock market in the early 1980s. The bull-bear tussle in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) over Reliance shares created such unprecedented mayhem that the BSE had to be shut down for three days in 1982. There were pointed accusations about Reliance using slush funds brought in from tax havens like Isle of Man to rig the market. However, an inquiry by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) failed to establish these charges.
· Bofors scam (1987) : The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several of his associates were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India's 155 mm field howitzer. The scam led to the defeat of Gandhi's ruling Congress party in the November 1989 general elections. On 29 January 1993, Judge Patrick Blaser of Criminal Court of Appeal in Geneva delivered a 51-page judgment upholding charges of bribery, fraud and forgery. Seven appeals against it were dismissed on July 12, 1993. On July 29 the names of the appellants - the holders of the tarnished accounts - were officially revealed. They were Gopichand, Prakash and Srichand Hinduja, and their Jubilee Finance; Win Chadha and his Svenska Inc; and Ottavio Quattrochi. On February 5, 2004, the Delhi High Court quashed the charges of bribery against Rajiv Gandhi and others. On May 31, 2005 the court dismissed the allegations against the British business brothers, Shrichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja. Later Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused as the middleman in the scandal was let off from the case by a Delhi court due to lack of credible evidence. The Indian investigative agency CBI was involved in the investigations.
· HDW Submarine Scam: The HDW, a German concern, not only gave South Africa blue prints of the submarines it had sold to India, but also some "sensitive details" which compromised India's security completely. This disclosure was part of its deal with South Africa, signed on 15 June 1984. On 22 November, 1989, under specific instructions from the Rajiv Gandhi Government, the Indian delegation to the 63rd meeting of the United Nations General Assembly abstained in a vote that retained a condemnatory reference to the West German firms and to West Germany in connection with the supply to South Africa of blueprints for the manufacture of submarines and other related military material. The abstention came on a motion related to the U N General Assembly resolution A/44/L. 34/rev.1 entitled "Military collaboration with South Africa".
· Russian Payments Scam: Dr. Yevgeniya Albats is a Soviet journalist who was appointed as member of the official KGB Commission set up by President Yeltsin in 1991. She had full access to secret files of the KGB. She authored a book, The State within a State: KGB and Its Hold on Russia. Dr. Albats disclosed in her book on pg. 223 that:
A letter signed by Viktor Chebrikov, who replaced Andropov as head of the KGB in 1982, noted: "The USSR KGB maintains contact with the son of Premier Minister Rajiv Gandhi [of India] ...R. Gandhi expresses deep gratitude for benefits accruing to the Prime Minister's family from the commercial dealings of an Indian firm he controls in cooperation with Soviet foreign trade organizations. R. Gandhi reports confidentially that a substantial portion of the funds obtained through this channel are used to support the party of R. Gandhi."
In 1992 the media confronted the Russian government with the Albats disclosure. The Russian government confirmed the veracity of the disclosure and defended it as necessary for ‘Soviet ideological interest’.
· Harshad Mehta Securities Scam, Early 1990s: This scam, which allegedly involved players as diverse as Grindlays Bank, Citibank, the State Bank of India and Stanchart, was to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore. Taxpayers’ money to the tune of Rs.4,800 crore had to be invested to bail out the UTI. Harshad Mehta was the architect of the 1991-92 securities scam. He was arrested in November 2001. He died soon after, on December 31, 2001.
· Fodder scam (1996): The fodder scam involved embezzlement of a massive Rs 950 crore from the government treasury of the eastern state of Bihar, which involved the fabrication of fictitious livestock for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured. Later, it was found out that this had been going on for over two decades. The scam continues to garner attention from the Indian media due to the involvement of tenured bureaucrats, elected politicians and business people. The scam was brought to light by Amit Khare, the then deputy commissioner of West Singhbhum, when he raided the animal husbandry department at Chaibasa, where documents conclusively indicated large-scale embezzlement by an organized mafia of officials and businesspeople. The CBI took up the issue and subsequently all those involved were dealt with fittingly, among which the most high profile name was of the then Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav.
· Vanishing companies scam (1998): Little did the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram know that his passing remark would cause such a furore over what was a badly-kept secret on Dalal street. He was told that hundreds of companies had disappeared after raising money from the public, leading to an informal scrutiny that over 600 companies were missing, leading Chidambaram to order a probe by the SEBI. The SEBI probe conducted in May 1998 revealed that while many companies were not traded on the bourses, at least 80 companies that had raised Rs 330.78 crore were simply missing. Later that year, the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) was asked to probe and penalize these companies. However, investigations continue to this day.
· Stockmarket scam (2001): The key figure in the stockmarket scam of 2001, Ketan Parekh, a chartered accountant by training, came from a family of brokers, which helped him create a trading ring of his own. In the period between 1999 and 2001, the stock markets in India sprang to life following which investment firms, mostly controlled by listed companies, overseas corporate bodies or cooperative banks all were ready to hand over money to Parekh which was used by him to rig up stock prices. As a result, scrips like Visualsoft rose from Rs 625 to Rs 8,848 per share and Sonata software from Rs 90 to Rs 2,150. Parekh's party ended rather abruptly a day after the Union Budget was presented in February 2001. A bear cartel started disrupting Parekh's party by hammering prices of the K-10 stocks , precipitating a payment crisis in Kolkata. Later, as SEBI conducted investigations, it became evident that bank funds were used to rig markets. In March 2001, the mayhem wiped off over Rs 1,15,000 crores from the markets. The chief accused Parekh was arrested in March that year and was in custody for a period of 53 days, and debarred from trading in the Indian stock exchanges till 2017.
· Stamp paper scam (2003): The main accused in the stamp paper scam, Abdul Karim Telgi earned money largely by printing counterfeit stamp paper in India. As Telgi started printing fake stamp paper, he appointed 300 agents who then sold the fakes to bulk purchasers including banks, insurance companies and share-broking firms. The scam which also involved police officers and many government employees was estimated to be around 20,000 crores. It is suspected that a few key politicians were also involved. That same year, Telgi and his associates were sentenced to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
· Scorpene submarine scam (2005): The Scorpene deal scam has gone down in history as one of India's largest bribery corruption scandals, in which Rs 500 crore is alleged to have been paid to government decision makers by Thales, the makers of the Scorpene submarine. The amount was channeled via middlemen such as Abhishek Verma. Also involved was Ravi Shankaran, a relative of the then chief of navy staff Arun Prakash. He is the prime accused in the navy war room scandal and was selling defence documents to the Thales. In October 2005, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee approved the Rs 19,000 crore submarine deal with French company Thales. Scorpene submarines are now being built in India under a technology transfer agreement which was part of that contract.
· Satyam scam (2009): Satyam Computers, the name that has now become synonymous with corruption was founded by Ramalinga Raju in the year 1987. A botched acquisition attempt involving Maytas, a sister company of the firm, in December 2008 led to a plunge in the share price of Satyam. In January 2009, Raju indicated that Satyam's accounts had been falsified over the years. Raju also admitted to an accounting dupery to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore rupees and resigned from the Satyam board. Subsequently, Raju and his brother, B Rama Raju, were then arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police. Raju was convicted of cheating six million shareholders and is being held in Hyderabad's Chanchalguda jail.
· Madhu Koda mining scam (2009): During his tenure, former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Madhu Koda was charged with laundering money worth over 4000 crores. Later, when the enforcement directorate conducted raids, they unearthed assets allegedly worth 4000 crores. Assets included hotels, three companies in Mumbai, property in Kolkata, a hotel in Thailand and a coal mine in Liberia. Presently, Madu Koda is spending his time at the Birsa Munda Central Jail at Hotwar.
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