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A 'sham' transaction?

A report of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has levelled a series of allegations against India's biggest privately-controlled corporate entity Reliance Industries Limited, headed by the country's richest man Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, accusing it of having engineered a series of allegedly illegal transactions to control a company that controlled the NewsX television channel which, in turn, resulted in "wrongful" losses to the extent of hundreds of crores of rupees. Though the SFIO...

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Indians fret as inflation bites

Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by the burst of firecrackers and hectic shopping by families across India, was subdued last weekend. The lights were dimmer, the footfalls in malls smaller and the mood less exuberant. The reason: consistently high inflation. High food and fuel prices have sharply eroded the real incomes of large sections of the world's second-most populous country, contributing to anger and social unrest that have often spilled over on to the streets. "I think twice...

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Break the corrupt coalition

The nexus between politics, big business and white-collar crime is present in myriad forms across the globe. In India, the corrupt coalition between those who have and those who wield authority — often present in the same person — is strengthened by other sections, which include bureaucrats and media personnel. If the conversations involving Niira Radia bear testimony to the role of a few influential journalists in perpetuating this nexus, what coalgate has revealed is how the cosy relationship...

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Controversial deal to redevelop Jaipur lake before apex court

The Story so far The Mansagar lake, one of the largest manmade water bodies in India with a palace called Jal Mahal at the centre of it, a popular tourism and heritage spot in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, was handed over for redevelopment to a private real estate firm as part of what was allegedly a "sweetheart deal". The area was given on a long lease of 99 years at what was considered to be very low lease rentals. After various public interest litigations were filed against different...

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Jousting over Jaipur's jewel

As you enter Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the Mansagar Lake is a sight to behold. One of the largest man-made water bodies in the country, it was built in 1610 by Raja Man Singh I, the then ruler of Amer, by damming the Darbhawati river. But this placid water body, built by a feudal lord for recreation as well as for irrigation, with an ornate palace (Jal Mahal) in its middle and a temple on its northwestern side, has become the subject of bitter contention in recent times. A legal tussle...

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Trading honesty for benefits

Lalu Prasad Yadav is in jail. As is Rasheed Masood. Both have been disqualified as legislators. But are elected representatives now likely to be less brazen while participating in acts of corruption, even if the long arm of the law remains rather lengthy and the wheels of justice continue to grind excruciatingly slowly? Is India’s political system becoming more transparent and hence, less corrupt? One may be tempted to reply in the affirmative to both the questions raised in view of certain...

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Not Only About Saints

It was a reunion organised by Potty, not his real name of course, who was coming to Delhi with his family after having spent more than three decades working for the IMF. Besides yours truly—Thak to the initiated— there was Dasi, a one-time Trotskyite who, lo and behold, became a self-appointed ideologue of right-wing Hindu nationalist forces led by NaMo. Alcohol and large dollops of nostalgia were followed by a trip down memory lane to Pandara Market, now far more tony than it was in the 1970s...

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Lalu Yadav: A rustic buffoon who understood coalition politics

Lalu Prasad Yadav has risen from being a virtual non-entity, even in his native Bihar, to arguably one of the best known political leaders in India even if he has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. True, Lalu had been a member of the Lok Sabha as early as 1977, when the Janata Party made a clean sweep of all 54 seats in Bihar riding a wave of popular anger against the Emergency which had ended barely three months before the elections were held. Yet, hardly anybody outside his...

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BBC
What is wrong with India's economy?

For Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the irony could not have been more cruel. The man who is credited with lifting the country's economy from the brink of disaster in 1991 as finance minister in PV Narasimha Rao's government, is today facing a situation which is not very much better. In fact, in at least two respects - economic inequality and the international exchange rate of the rupee - India's economy appears to be worse off than where it was two decades earlier. India is not in danger of...

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Exits over ESOPs attract attention

The “restructuring” at Network 18 which resulted in the exit of an editor and three senior employees is becoming something of a cause celebre. Journalists organisations are taking it up and issuing statements, the mainstream media has begun writing about it. There have been sackings before but not over ESOPs, involving business journalists employed in a joint venture with an international business magazine, floated by a high profile media house owned by one of the country’s wealthiest magnates...

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