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Sleeping keystone cops

EducationWorld April 2020 | Postscript

For Rana Kapoor, former high-flying promoter-chairman of the private sector Yes Bank whose Rs.10 face value equity share was quoted at Rs.285 in its heyday and attracted public deposits of Rs.227,610 crore, the fall from grace was swift and vertiginous. It has come as a great setback for monitors of the floundering Indian economy — including your editor — pressing for the privatisation of the country’s dysfunctional 27 public sector banks (PSBs) which since they were ill-advisedly nationalised way back in 1969, have been a major drag on the high-potential Indian economy. The exposure of this Rutgers University alumnus with decades of experience with Bank of America and later the Netherlands-based Dutch Rabo Bank, as a common cheat, is a bad advertisement for private enterprise.

Now a rising mountain of evidence is emerging that Kapoor was clearly afflicted with a common infirmity of successful Indian — especially North Indian — businessmen: effete epicureanism, i.e, excessive materialism and greed for the good life. This translated into purchase of extravagant homes and bungalows in Delhi, Mumbai, London and elsewhere abroad and hosting lavish parties round the year. This jet-set lifestyle cannot possibly be supported by salaries of even best paymasters among publicly listed companies.

Therefore to pay for his deadly sin of avarice, Kapoor vastly expanded the lending operations of Yes Bank. The bank’s total advances increased from Rs.55,633 crore in 2014 to Rs.241,500 crore in 2019. Moreover he started massively advancing Yes Bank depositors money to troubled, struggling companies in desperate financial straits — Anil Ambani’s ADAG, Zee Entertainment, Dewan Housing Finance — which were arm-twisted to pay huge kickbacks into shell companies promoted by Kapoor and his socialite wife. 

The wonder is that it took India’s keystone cops — Reserve Bank, SEBI, Enforcement Directorate, income tax authorities — who are paid to monitor the financial markets, so long to unravel Kapoor’s simplistic swindle.

Elementary, my dear Watson!


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