Arvind Kejriwal’s series of attacks reminds me of a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, where two weavers design a new attire for the emperor that, they tell the emperor, will be only visible to those who are honest and loyal. The emperor subsequently dons the ‘attire’ to test his subjects’ loyalty, much to the amusement of his citizenry. Arvind Kejriwal, like the child who laughed at the emperor and dared to shout that the emperor is actually parading naked, is ripping out the false masks from the faces of many such self-proclaimed political and corporate emperors and has dared to show their real faces to the world.

Arvind Kejriwal’s storm of lethal revelations against the alleged corrupt political parties, Congress and BJP, has upset the tricky equations between the government and industry and their nexus that has been regularly facilitated by the incumbent parties. He has set the tone that is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and scary for mainstream political parties, who could have earlier afforded to patch-up over such common vices. It all started with the most coveted Robert Vadra. For years now, people in media and everyone else with an idea of things around, had been whispering about his deals. And it’s not just about DLF, but about many other big, realty companies! However, in spite of almost all real-estate owners and politicians being conversant with the Vadra-DLF knot, none ever tried to question this fixture. Arvind had the courage to come out with it in public and with proof! He reiterated that DLF granted favours to Robert Vadra wherein Vadra used black money worth Rs 500 crore to purchase properties. In return, DLF gave an interest-free loan of Rs 65 crore to Vadra and Co. Moreover, numerous discounted residential flats were gifted to Vadra and Co. in Gurgaon, Haryana. Given the fact that Vadra is closely ‘related’ with Congress, the party’s powers-that-be in Haryana gave land meant for public utilities (and from the green belt) to DLF with easy clearances for an express-lane as well.

After Robert, Arvind went out to less significant exposés concerning Salman Khurshid and Nitin Gadkari – though strangely, while the Vadra case was buried by the media in a couple of days, and Khurshid’s in two more days, Nitin Gadkari’s relatively less consequential business deals are something the media seems to have taken an excessive liking for! While the other allegations concern misusing public money, Gadkari’s seem more of private business dealings. However, corruption is corruption. And the biggest storm that was unexpected in the corridors of crony capitalists came on October 31, 2012. In a press conference, the activist-turned-politician Kejriwal tagged the Reliance-politicians’ nexus as crony capitalism – again, this was something everyone was always speaking of – and pointed out how the entire political spectrum, not just Congress, extended undue favours to Reliance – of course, Congress in particular. All these parties are in fact – in Kejriwal’s articulation – in Mukesh Ambani’s pocket. The press release by Kejriwal’s India Against Corruption, published by many media houses, mentions, “RIL takes away more than 80% of profits and the government gets less than 20 per cent of profits.” Kejriwal also adds that Reliance gained Rs 1 lakh crore by plundering the country’s resources. He also accused Reliance of placing students in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for their own benefits, and further accused RIL of selecting the Petroleum Minister.  Read more....

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I was in Cannes this year for the annual film festival! The day after the inaugural show, was a symposium on Indian flms. While speaking at the symposium, I said that the West better take India very seriously as sooner or later, in any case, Indians or Chinese will be owning all the major Hollywood studios, since they are mostly bankrupt and on sale. At the end of my speech, most people who came up to me seemed disturbed by my statement! Many asked whether I really meant that statement!

Well, I surely meant that! One look at the global rich list today and you will see how it has been stormed by the Indians. The reasons, as I said in one of my previous editorials, is of course more to do with the way Indian governments have helped privatise national resources than encourage real brand building abilities – (‘Blood billionaires. Scam Billionaires. Indians storm into the Forbes billionaires list’; December 23, 2007). The best proof of my statement is that when it comes to the world’s top hundred billionaires, we have a lot of Indians; but when it comes to the world’s top hundred brands, we don’t find a single brand developed by Indians. However, that, I believe, is going to change – at least partially. Tatas already own Jaguar and Land Rover. And they are seemingly turning the units around. So even if we didn’t create brands thanks to the Kalingas, Singurs and Poscos, our industrialists have been made billionaires by successive governments so that they can now buy up readymade brands and build upon them.     Read More....

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