Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Satyam investigation

The Satyam affair broke out in early Jan with Raju's famous letter. Since then, two parallel chain of events have happened - one handled brilliantly and one handled abysmally.

When the news broke, the company was on the verge of immediate collapse. The government acted swiftly in naming an eminent Board to take over. These individuals demonstrated why they are of so eminent a stature. They immediately took control, kept the business going, reassured customers and employees, staved off an immediate crisis, held an auction, found a buyer (can you imagine how difficult a task that would have been) and did a deal in 3 months flat. There is now a reasonable future ahead for the company, its employees, its shareholders and its customers.

By any yardstick this is a stupendous achievement. I haven't really heard, or read about, the plaudits they richly deserve. They deserve a medal. Messers Karnik, Parekh, Achutan and everybody else involved in saving the company - take a bow.

The other chain of events has been the "investigation" into the fraud. It would be difficult to find something more shabbily handled. Numerous government agencies are falling over each other in their so called investigations. The AP police and the CBI (you could not imagine two organisations worse equipped to investigate something of this nature) have taken four months and achieved precious little. Other than catching hold of everybody in sight and locking them up.

Here's a situation where the perpetrator of the fraud has owned up. And pray, what are they investigating? In four months, they haven't been able to bring a case on a self confessed fraud.

India's justice system is frankly pathetic. People get locked up and remain undertrials for periods longer than their sentences would have been if they were guilty. A basic tenet of justice is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Raju may be guilty by admission, But what about some of the others. Especially the PWC partners who have been jailed. As I posted before, this is a complete travesty of justice.

In many ways this story is a true reflection of India. There is an India which is brilliant, can achieve fantastic results and is breathtaking. There is another India, which is pathetic and shameful.

Three cheers to Karnik & co. Three brickbats and a kick on the backside for the judicial process.