Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘The AAP can still be revived’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

AAP’s hard times

The real villain is the media, which is dancing to the BJP’s tunes (“AAP spokesperson Ashutosh writes: Has the party played its innings too fast and too soon?”). It’s not that the AAP doesn’t have its weaknesses, but the powerful regime at Centre has used all its might to crush the movement. I, a retired government servant and a firm supporter of AAP or any movement that fights criminal and corrupt politicians, believe that the current cunning political monster will have to be fought with shrewdness. In a chess-game, even a lowly pawn can checkmate a king. But, it has to wait to catch them off-guard.

The MCD election results should not be taken as defeat. The party should now reinvigorate volunteers. The AAP also needs to improve its media team. Paid TV channels will have to be countered somehow, some journalists and memebers of the intelligentsia will have to be befriended.Thirdly, important leaders and supporters like Kumar Vishwas and Vishal Dadlani who have wide appeal should not be distanced at any cost. I hope the AAP bounces back soon. – DR Dharma


The AAP experienced its worst defeat in the MCD election. The foul-mouthed Kejriwal will now disappear from political scene. He had the audacity to contest against Modi, like a rat taking on an elephant. Punjab, ,Goa and now Delhi have taught him a lesson. He is a traitor who used Anna Hazare for his selfish goal. He wanted to become prime minister at the earliest. In this process, he became the laughing stock of the country. – Chandrasekar Kalyanam


The AAP antagonised its own basic agenda of good governance by spreading too fast and too soon. It almost abandoned Delhi, which offered it a golden chance to prove its capabilities. Arvind Kejriwal is egocentric. – MM Singh


The AAP can be revived still. It is clear that Delhiites were thoroughly disappointed with the party and Arvind Kejriwal. When Kejriwal moved away from Anna Hazare to form a political party, which he promised will be the answer to all the political evils prevailing in the country, people wanted to give him a chance. But soon enough, the AAP starting acting like any other political party,

In addition, it made enemies out of many of the rich and powerful, who were scared that the new experiment will shake the decades-old practices they were accustomed to . Had Kerjriwal been careful enough, he could have maintained the momentum and won the hearts of millions who were fed up of the dirty old political system.

But this is not the end of the AAP or the idea of a corruption-free polity. Such a party can still revive itself if it sticks to the principles of freedom, integrity and universality. The country needs an opposition party that will stand for the idea of India: a multi cultural and multi religious entity commanding the world’s respect for its culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Military and economic power has only secondary importance in such a scenario. – Ravindranathan PV

Identity project

Sure, we have a number of groups who would prefer citizens to be identified only by their ration cards (ask Lalu Yadav and Mamata Banerjee) (“Making Aadhaar mandatory is assault on individuals’ autonomy over their bodies, petitioners tell SC”). But it’s high time the country moved on. The advantages of Aadhar are, inclusion, less corruption and it weill also assist criminal investigation – each is a necessity. – Sujit S Kumar


Verification worries

This analysis is mostly hypothetical (“Explainer: Aadhaar is vulnerable to identity theft because of its design and the way it is used”). We don’t bother when our Facebook information is stolen. On the internet, any misuse leaves an indelible footprint. Besides, one can lock UIDAI’s data access and release selectively. If you’re so apprehensive, demand and urge the UIDAI to set up a two-step verification for Aadhaar. – TV Raao

Parched state

There is another little-known aspect of the Tamil Nadu drought (“This map shows just how alarming Tamil Nadu’s water crisis is”). Ground water is being depleted at an alarming rate in the state. Borewells have been sunk to a depth of 400 feet or more in many areas of the delta. They are also fitted with submersible motors for agricultural purposes. Drinking water is becoming scarce due to this, but no one can raise their voice against this indiscriminate exploitation. – Ramanan


There has no comment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue. He has ignored Tamil Nadu in many instances. I hope god gives Tamil Nadu the the strength to withstand the crisis and rise again even though the government doesn’t doesn’t support us. – Mohan

Under threat

The CAG, planners, neutral thinkers and liberals should calculate the money spent on deploying central forces in Naxal areas (“Why Bastar’s roads have become deathtraps for the security forces”). Then, think of how the life of Adivasis would have changed had this money been given to them. Adivasis could have undertaken development projects on their own, depending on their needs – it would be like a government grant. This would definitely reduce the blood shed too. Given the corruption in the country, there must be some leakage of funds happening in maintaining the forces. What’s the need to have such a big force to deprive the Adivasis of the lands they have been living in for centuries? The rulers of the state want to give these lands for a penny to the crony capitalists in the name of development.Why? What kind of development the rulers have in their minds? Development of their own selves at the expense of the poor and the rest of the country? Citizens of this country need to wake up and think of where this country is going. – Onkar Singh


We always have apologists for any violence, however gruesome, as well as civil rights activists to defend such atrocities. They want to make Chhattisgarh another Kashmir. No heed shall be paid to such elements. – Madhu

Poisoned rivers

The article on cancer cases in Bihar because of its water sheds light on the plight of cancer patients and government neglect (“Cancer has exploded in Bihar as lakhs of people drink water poisoned with arsenic”). Great work by M Rajshekhar.

I request Scroll.in team to also cover the rising incidence of cancer in rural areas across the Hindon river bed.

I think they are on the rise because of the heavy metal contamination of ground water. This contamination has most probably been caused by the release of unprocessed​ industry discharge from western Uttar Pradesh directly into the Hindon river. Saharanpur, Shamli and Bhagpat are among the affected districts. – Abhimanyu

Coming soon

Despite Arnab Goswami’s defence of his channel’s supporters, it cannot be denied that there is a definite bias towards the ruling party (“‘Proud of all my partners’: Arnab Goswami when asked about BJP influence in new venture”). This does not signal a independent and honest channel. His channel will join others that are already controlled or favourable to the present establishment. – SN Iyer

Heritage lost

Thank you for the superb article by Mustansir Dalvi on the Hall of Nations (“The demolished Hall of Nations was a terrific example of a young country’s Make in India spirit”). I visited the complex in 1982, and was very impressed. Alas, it is all too often that we appreciate a site when it is no more. To my mind, discarding heritage, no matter what its age (as all heritage should be considered for its merits, not necessarily its age) leads to an inevitable soullessness, which reflects in all aspects of life. – Brian Paul Bach

Weighing in

The media is out to get maximum mileage and same goes for the doctors in this case (“What the spat over ‘the world’s heaviest woman’ says about doctors, journalists and the PR machinery”). I think the patient and the family knows this. I’m sure they will not have the necessary finances for the adventure and knew that this was the only way that she could be treated. There is no doubt that medically we are second to none.

Somewhere I think the sister has felt neglected and become a loose cannon. – Dr Gautama Ramakanthan

Blood loss

In this piece, Rajat Agarwal of Sankalp India Foundation explains just about 1% loss of donated blood (“Why some stored blood is always discarded and why that should not deter blood donors”). However, Agarwal cannot justify the high 10% incidence of loss of donated blood in the country. He also doesn’t explain why the incidence is particularly high in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, where medical facilities are relatively good. It would be better to encourage donors to donate blood through reputed blood banks like Red Cross and even then, only for immediate transmission. This will avoid the loss of blood or blood components as a result of poor methods and equipment for collection, separation, storage, transport and transfusion of blood. This will also significantly reduce the scam-ridden process of collecting and distributing donated blood. – Chandra Shekhar AK

Losing faith

This is an eye-opener for everyone who reposes their faith in investigation agencies and the government without checking the authenticity of the probe (“Why blame judiciary for granting Pragya Thakur bail when investigative agencies show no spine?”). What can we trust nowadays? Oh, what will happen to my India, my country, my soul, my land, my love? Not just our bodies but our minds are also being hijacked. – Danish Iqbal

Women in science

I loved the article and I’m so proud of each one of the scientists (“Meet the women scientists who make India’s chillies hotter, flowers cheaper and mangoes last longer”). I thank the writer for thinking of and writing such a beautiful article. – Nita Khandekar

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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Behind the garb of wealth and success, white collar criminals are hiding in plain sight

Understanding the forces that motivate leaders to become fraudsters.

Most con artists are very easy to like; the ones that belong to the corporate society, even more so. The Jordan Belforts of the world are confident, sharp and can smooth-talk their way into convincing people to bend at their will. For years, Harshad Mehta, a practiced con-artist, employed all-of-the-above to earn the sobriquet “big bull” on Dalaal Street. In 1992, the stockbroker used the pump and dump technique, explained later, to falsely inflate the Sensex from 1,194 points to 4,467. It was only after the scam that journalist Sucheta Dalal, acting on a tip-off, broke the story exposing how he fraudulently dipped into the banking system to finance a boom that manipulated the stock market.


In her book ‘The confidence game’, Maria Konnikova observes that con artists are expert storytellers - “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” Harshad Mehta’s story was an endearing rags-to-riches tale in which an insurance agent turned stockbroker flourished based on his skill and knowledge of the market. For years, he gave hope to marketmen that they too could one day live in a 15,000 sq.ft. posh apartment with a swimming pool in upmarket Worli.

One such marketman was Ketan Parekh who took over Dalaal Street after the arrest of Harshad Mehta. Ketan Parekh kept a low profile and broke character only to celebrate milestones such as reaching Rs. 100 crore in net worth, for which he threw a lavish bash with a star-studded guest-list to show off his wealth and connections. Ketan Parekh, a trainee in Harshad Mehta’s company, used the same infamous pump-and-dump scheme to make his riches. In that, he first used false bank documents to buy high stakes in shares that would inflate the stock prices of certain companies. The rise in stock prices lured in other institutional investors, further increasing the price of the stock. Once the price was high, Ketan dumped these stocks making huge profits and causing the stock market to take a tumble since it was propped up on misleading share prices. Ketan Parekh was later implicated in the 2001 securities scam and is serving a 14-years SEBI ban. The tactics employed by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh were similar, in that they found a loophole in the system and took advantage of it to accumulate an obscene amount of wealth.


Call it greed, addiction or smarts, the 1992 and 2001 Securities Scams, for the first time, revealed the magnitude of white collar crimes in India. To fill the gaps exposed through these scams, the Securities Laws Act 1995 widened SEBI’s jurisdiction and allowed it to regulate depositories, FIIs, venture capital funds and credit-rating agencies. SEBI further received greater autonomy to penalise capital market violations with a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.

Despite an empowered regulatory body, the next white-collar crime struck India’s capital market with a massive blow. In a confession letter, Ramalinga Raju, ex-chairman of Satyam Computers convicted of criminal conspiracy and financial fraud, disclosed that Satyam’s balance sheets were cooked up to show an excess of revenues amounting to Rs. 7,000 crore. This accounting fraud allowed the chairman to keep the share prices of the company high. The deception, once revealed to unsuspecting board members and shareholders, made the company’s stock prices crash, with the investors losing as much as Rs. 14,000 crores. The crash of India’s fourth largest software services company is often likened to the bankruptcy of Enron - both companies achieved dizzying heights but collapsed to the ground taking their shareholders with them. Ramalinga Raju wrote in his letter “it was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten”, implying that even after the realisation of consequences of the crime, it was impossible for him to rectify it.

It is theorised that white-collar crimes like these are highly rationalised. The motivation for the crime can be linked to the strain theory developed by Robert K Merton who stated that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (the importance of money, social status etc.). Not having the means to achieve those goals leads individuals to commit crimes.

Take the case of the executive who spent nine years in McKinsey as managing director and thereafter on the corporate and non-profit boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Harvard Business School. Rajat Gupta was a figure of success. Furthermore, his commitment to philanthropy added an additional layer of credibility to his image. He created the American India Foundation which brought in millions of dollars in philanthropic contributions from NRIs to development programs across the country. Rajat Gupta’s descent started during the investigation on Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan hedge fund manager accused of insider trading. Convicted for leaking confidential information about Warren Buffet’s sizeable investment plans for Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta was found guilty of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Safe to say, Mr. Gupta’s philanthropic work did not sway the jury.


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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.