The funny thing is no one has yet figured out what made Satyam’s Ramalinga Raju do what he did. Many people interviewed in this pithy compendium by Business Standard’s senior editors only have good things to say about the perpetrator of one of India’s largest corporate scandals. Why did the “proverbial good boy”, painfully shy but ruthlessly efficient, confess to his crimes? Is there a hidden deal we all don’t know about? And will anything get done to ensure that the laws and systems keep pace with ever-evolving corporate fraud?
Given that it’s instant history, this is a competent look at most angles and stakeholders in this scam, from Raju’s personality and modus operandi to the regulatory oversights and eventual rescue by the government. Thankfully, for now at least, there’s focus on sorting out sloppy systemic regulation—a crucial factor as India’s corporate landscape is “dominated by family-owned/controlled businesses just like Satyam”. Raju is not, as many in India Inc are projecting, one bad chap in a sea of saints.
Prosecutions should start soon in this case. This book is a reminder for an ever-cynical public. I have two quibbles though. One would have expected a lot more on Raju’s interface with AP’s political bosses—there is surely a spicier cocktail of patronage that deserves to be told. And for all the systemic failings, should not there have been something about the media’s role in this sorry saga?