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Why did Satyam break open NOW?

11th January, 2009

The Great Indian Satyam Fiasco – it seems the news channels have only NOW begun warming up to the idea of continuing this thread throughout the week. After all, its good juicy stuff, right?

But I’d like to know something that they just wont tell me – why did this happen NOW? Satyam is almost as old as I am (it started in 1987), is definitely a heavyweight in the IT services sector, and has almost 53000 employees (or so they claim). And if they were still able to keep all the hanky panky hush hush, they must’ve been damn good at it.

I know I know, the official story is also there. They wanted to buy “Maytas” from their family-owned property business, and transfer all those fake inflated numbers to the company that they would acquire. It does make sense too. Their hanky panky would have started off small, but as real revenues grew and clients climbed aboard, the hanky panky also grew larger and larger. And of course, you had Pricewaterhouse, a very untainted auditing house, to help you while you’re at it.

But, I still ask. Why. Now.

Who were those independent board directors who opposed the Maytas acquisition? The shareholders and institutional investors who also demanded to know why the company was taking such a step? They created enough noise for the government to actually wake up and review the deal. And then the stacks began to fall. The Registrar of Companies, the Karnataka government all came snooping in, and found a whole bunch of irregularities.

And who gains? The shares of TCS, Infosys and Wipro have all climbed after Ramalinga Raju confessed to his crime. A lot of Satyam clients will have to look at other options (I’m not yet saying ALL clients will have to!). Its distress sale time, folks. Lots and lots of money can be made here! I’m merely speculating, but a small nudge by these “friends” when Satyam was at its weakest could have lead to what happened.

Corporate governance. Bah! It’s in times like these that I now doubt every company, all of them guilty until proven innocent. Satyams bank statements go missing, don’t they?

Why cant integrity and excellence be two common pillars? Maybe I should run off to Auroville or something!

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