Monday, February 21, 2011

Article in the Indian Express - February 20, 2011

The following article appeared in my Sunday column 'Un Intended' in the New Indian Express.

Cool Scams That Are Hard to Fathom
Harimohan Paruvu

We, the public of India, have a request to make to the government. We would like a Scam Information Department. Mainly because there are too many scams and it is getting difficult to follow them. But more importantly, all new scams are hitech and complicated and we have no clue about what is really happening. We can figure our simple scams like say the Adarsh scam which is about real estate. The Bofors scam was about kickbacks in military deals. The cattle fodder scam was about buying cattle fodder for cattle that never existed – both cattle and fodder. Mining scams are about mining in places belonging to someone else. Corporate scams are about fooling people into investing real money in fake companies. These scams are simple and transparent. But it is with the hitech scams that we need assistance in. But why does the public need to know? Because we suspect that it’s our money the scam guys are playing with! 

For the general public that is going around shaking their heads wisely at the mention of scams, there is some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that lakhs of crores of the scam money is yours. So stop behaving like it belongs to someone else. (Now that I have your attention, I request you not to have heart attacks or stage dharnas.) The good news is that it has been invested well by these smart scam guys in tax free stuff! Some have invested it in real estate, some in cash, some in cattle feed. But it’s safe and we can get it back, tax or no tax, Switzerland or Mars. There is only one problem. The new scams. 

2G? And now an S band scam? What are these? What are these guys selling off? Letters? Alphabets? Languages? For a nation that does not understand a single legal document, a tax form, a bank application or even a railway reservation form, forget it, we don’t even understand directions on roads, how the hell will anyone understand these vague alpha numeric scams? Have scams by all means, since no one is able to stop anyone from doing so, but at least educate us on what they are about. After all we are the investors. Maybe conduct special classes to explain what each scam is about and how much we, the public, have invested in each of them. 

This is where the Scam department could help us in understanding our scam position. The scam guys are using our money to sell off frequencies ranging from 2G to S. Obviously they have done it for some benefit. Now all we need to do is track how much we have made, and then pay us (the public) off, and we are all in the same frequency. (That is one frequency we all understand.) Only thing is that if we have sold off 2G, then we must have already sold off a1, a2, a3, a4, a5….22e, 2f, 2g? And since we have now come to S, my guess is that we must have made a neat packet already! 

Now look at the future of our investments. We have the juicy prospect of scams until we get to ZZ100 or more! With so much at stake for us, there is an immediate need for us to understand our scam portfolio because it is starting to look very promising to me indeed. From a Scam Market akin to the Stock Market, to scam equity, futures and options, the possibilities are endless! But first, the Scam Department please. There is much work to be done.

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