December 11, 2019
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A Box Of Stale Biscuits

And a brother sips from the wrong cup

A Box Of Stale Biscuits
A Wasted Death—The Rise And Fall Of Rajan Pillai
By J. Rajmohan Pillai By K. Govindan Kutty
Penguin India Pages: 223; Rs 250
Is there a new move to exert subtle pressure on the government to open up the Rajan Pillai case after the cbi found gross negligence in the death of the Singapore-based industrialist? Perhaps yes. Five-and-a-half-years after his death in the grimy corridors of a government hospital in Delhi, his widow Nina sues Coca-Cola for breach of trust and brother Rajmohan pens a biography citing circumstances which led to the fall and, subsequent death, of the biscuit king. The 219-page book talks of Pillai's ambitions and his business and political links (especially with former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee) and how he nurtured hopes for global tieups. Also, how he was rattled with his fizzout venture with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and at the way his close friends deserted him when he needed them most. Many have often linked the meteoric rise and fall of Pillai to that of another fraudster of Indian origin, Rajendra Sethia. Expectedly, Rajmohan goes soft on the issue of the trial for extraditing his brother to Singapore to face criminal proceedings initiated by a handful of business tycoons. Now whether that was a larger conspiracy no one knows. After all, siblings are not expected to be the fairest of judges. And to that extent, the book is a wasted effort.
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