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Politicians keep mum as Tech Mahindra rescues Satyam
April, 14th 2009

When Satyam Computer Services collapsed in a heap on January 7, many expected that the noise would reverberate during election time. Elections are here and the silence is deafening. But for those who heard the silence in the 60 hours between Satyam founder Ramalinga Rajus confession and his arrest, there is no surprise.

Instead of moving swiftly to detain Mr Raju and prevent the destruction of evidence, the government dilly-dallied, arguing that it could not act until a formal complaint was registered. For two-and-a-half days, it sheltered behind the fig leaf of technicality until the Satyam founder and his brother B Rama Raju gave themselves up.

But token noises were indeed made. Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy said Mr Rajus confession was a shock to him. He even tried to disown the former Telugu icon by saying it was his rival and opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu who was responsible for boosting Satyam during his nine years in office up to 2004. The ruling Congress also alleged that Mr Naidus son Lokeshs education was paid for by Mr Raju.

The Telugu Desam Party boss, for his part, claimed that over 14 companies run by the chief ministers family were used by Mr Raju to launder money, specifically naming Mr Reddys son Jaganmohan. Ill-gotten cash from Satyam was used by the Reddy family to startTelugu daily Sakshi and Indira TV channel, Mr Naidu alleged.

And then they went silent. Politicians blame each other but they will not bring out facts despite having them. Indian politicians seem to have entered into an implicit agreement as far as political corruption goes. It is the same case with the Indian money lying in Swiss bank accounts. The facts will be out once a government free of taint comes into power, said G Haragopal, political analyst and dean of social sciences at Hyderabad Central University.

The sequence of events since the scam broke out appear to bear out Mr Haragopals assessment. The reluctance to arrest Mr Raju, the roadblocks in the way of the Serious Fraud Investigation Offices attempts to question the Raju brothers and obvious lack of progress in ascertaining the diversion of funds from Satyam are but a few examples.

Now, the sale of Satyam to Tech Mahindra too does not seem to be a big deal for any of the political parties in the state. Mr Reddy, Mr Naidu and the Praja Rajyam Partys (PRP) K Chiranjeevi are too busy with election campaign to comment although PRP has said in its election manifesto that it aims to set up an expert agency to prevent scams of the Satyam variety.

A government official and adviser to Mr Reddy reacted as if the Satyam sale was just a run-of-the-mill acquisition in what he called a globalised scenario.

There is nothing to feel bad about Satyam changing management. Satyam was indeed the pride of the state. And so was a big company like Raasi Cements, which was taken over by India Cements. There is no big deal in companies changing hands, he said.

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