***The Mundhra Scandal
The timing was disastrous. Less than a year after the government nationalised life insurance in 1956—on the grounds that it was not being managed well—the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) produced independent India's first scam. Pressured by the Union finance ministry, LIC bypassed its investment committee and purchased shares worth Rs 124 lakh in six—mainly dud—companies belonging to Calcutta industrialist Haridas Mundhra. Feroze Gandhi, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's son-in-law, dramatically disclosed the deal in 1958, leading to a nationwide furore, and an investigation. The guilty were punished, and Union finance minister T.T. Krishnamachari had to resign.
Kairon and Sons
For independent India, this was a first-of-a-kind scandal. Later, of course, it was to become almost a cliche in political life: a chief minister accused of aggrandising himself and his family at public expense. The S.R. Das...