Sucheta Dalal :Leaking Like a Sieve
Sucheta Dalal

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Leaking Like a Sieve  

December 16, 2010

It is raining scams all around and, in the midst of it, many publications (including Moneylife) have received copies of the monthly briefing reports of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which are marked ‘Secret’, signed by outgoing IB chief Rajiv Mathur, and addressed to the national security advisor, principal secretary to the prime minister, Cabinet secretary, finance secretary and home secretary. The reports are stunningly detailed about the market operations of Ketan Parekh, Sanjay Dangi, Anand Rathi, Manish Marwah, a few notorious Kolkata operators (including Ashok Poddar and Dinesh Singhania) as well as Vimal Rathod, Raju Barter, Raj Agarwal and the industrialist C Sivasankaran.

The free distribution of the reports in the media raises several scary questions. If IB reports are so easily in circulation, what does it say about the quality of India’s security? Secondly, if the IB knows (clearly through phone-tapping) the exact operations of Ketan Parekh (who has been officially barred from the market for 14 years), doesn’t inaction on the IB report suggest complicity at the highest levels of government? Don’t forget, who the reports are all marked to. It is hard to believe that Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is busy double-checking the IB’s revelations because it has never hesitated to use the draconian emergency powers under Sec 11B to stop businesses without a proper hearing and investigation. In fact, we learn that its hasty actions in connection with the Pyramid Saimira case have drawn considerable flak at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) hearings.

Two others on the IB list—Sanjay Dangi (punished only recently, that too after the income-tax department passed on information to SEBI) and Manish Marwah—have been on the IB radar for the past three to four years. And Ashok Poddar and Dinesh Singhania of Kolkata are names that have figured in every major investigation on market manipulation over the past 15 years. So, in an era of leaks, is this IB’s way of telling the world how government agencies simply ignore its reports?—
Sucheta Dalal

-- Sucheta Dalal