Oh dear! Excuse the typo error. I meant the Lions of Punjab since I am personally & always immensely impressed with men of courage, wisdom and vision. Somehow my title went into sounding into an innuendo.  I will choose the liberty of thinking that perhaps those with a sense of humour would enjoy this inconsequential comedy of errors!

Infact, I do think that I posses a rather healthy and liberal sense of humour. What is life without a hearty laugh and comical twists of absurd yet funny incidents? Pick up the newspaper and it will tickle your mind with some of the most bizarre & fantastical stories you will ever hear or read. I must say our new breed of journalists have learnt to grow a funny bone and have taught us the same. Interestingly our new age news makers don’t fail to amuse and entertain either.

Recently, I read an article about Kunal Deshmukh’s aspirational directorial piece which he is calling Raja Natwarlal, so sadly, based on his ill-informed references of a major business tycoon, Mr.Subrata Roy Sahara, who is currently in a legal turmoil with the SEBI. For those who haven’t heard of Kunal Deshmukh I am not surprised. He is a dot in the massive Entertainment industry with his directorial ventures mostly revolving around Love, Sex and Drama. What is really baffling and worth mentioning is the ignorance that Deshmukh displays. I mean come on! A new age, educated 32 year old, metro-sexual man with such a horrible grasp on current affairs?

Where on earth did he learn that Subrata Roy’s business dealt with chit funds? Who on earth told him that he is in a legal turmoil because of some non-existent property scam?  Mr.Deshmukh when you plan to enlighten us with your vision (I’d love to call them nightmares) and creative non-genius, atleast get your facts correct! So much for a spin with so few, rather, zero hard facts! Your statement only projects a pathetic attempt to exhibition your inspiration as “more 'shocking' and 'in-depth' than your last one” & your dumbness is both laughable and pitiable.

And there goes my hunger for a good laugh, fed. LOLs, ROTL..!!! Feed people only trivia and entertainment, you will wither their appetite & feed them nonsense, you will surely food poison them! I wouldn’t get into the elaborate details of what the SAHARA SEBI issue is about but in a gist it’s been revolving around SEBI’s conceited claim over investor protection arguing that Sahara’s business practices are unhealthy and harm the depositors. Sahara is an enormously diversified Indian conglomerate employing around 12 lacs employees with business interests in Motion Pictures, Hospitality, Para-banking (Mr.Deshmukh! you must, especially, Google Parabanking before you ignorantly ramble some mumbo jumbo about the subject and embarrass yourself further..!!!!), Retail, etc. Sahara has never been in the business of Chit funds and most certainly never in Lotteries either.

When someone like a Kunal Deshmukh makes such juvenile, foolish, ill informed statements, it’s scary!!! He comes from bracket of an industry that moulds impressions. So the least you expect from him is sound and good research on his subject of inspiration. Just making appearances match, doesn’t do the job. And if you are ill- informed on the subject then admit so. Saves you the embarrassment! Has he ever interviewed Mr.Subrata Roy? Has he reached out to his family for his research or spoken with his employees, ever? Has he ever made any intelligent enquiry about his businesses, as a part of his study?

assuming the answer is, No! What is even more amusing is what the journalist, Ms. Priya Gupta, finds interesting about the similarities. Being a journalist, I thought she knew the undertones of the Sahara SEBI issue and would have utilised the opportunity to dispel some myths about the matter.  She could have very easily burst Mr.Deshmukh’s bubble and conducted some responsible reporting.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “Journalism largely consists in saying "Lord Jones is dead" to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.” Ms.Gupta, i thought you had more substance in you than taking a jab at a man who is much more seasoned than you are, experienced more life than you ever will, struggled his way up to accomplishments and fathers an army of loyal, hard working & honest workforce. Lead these many men; first, in your lifetime tell and then us what you found interesting about that. Likewise for you Mr.Deshmukh! Your Goliath emerges to lack any soul or intensity. Your statements in Media are imbecile and your knowledge of the subject is appalling. You sure you haven’t mixed David for Goliath? Or perhaps in your fit of ignorance you’ve drawn an incorrect analogy. You should probably draw the parallel with IGNORAMUS & STUPIDUS!! I already feel bad for myself for having apologised for my accidental innuendo, in the beginning. Mr.Deshmukh hasn’t even offered his! I knew he was ignorant and ill read, what I didn’t know was that he lacked mannerisms, too.

My commiserations to your nightmare “Raja Natwarlal”, Sir and my LOLs and ROTLs too!!! Also, please accept my loaded statements with puns and jabs at your intelligence, with no prospect of an apology!

Column: Why is Sebi finding it difficult to track Sahara investors?

Arun Kejriwal
The imbroglio involving the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group is not a simple case of money being taken and not returned to investors; neither is it a shady deal like the Saradha scam.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had overseen the refund of over Rs 22,000 crore to about 40 million Sahara investors by a handpicked committee a few years ago. Neither the committee faced the problem of identifying investors nor it doubted their existence.
Certainly, the apex bank has greater knowledge of investors, and a refund of this amount of money to such a large base of investors was a mammoth task. When RBI could do it, why is Sebi finding issues with the same set of investors as claimed by Sahara.
One must understand that the turf over which Sahara operates is with people who are unbankable. Returns offered by Sahara are in sync with the prevailing market rates and are not, therefore, unsustainable or in any way leading to instability.
The Sahara scheme is not a pyramid scheme and does not offer returns which can only be shown on paper. The rates vary in the range of 8-10 per cent, which is the current bank rate in the country.
Sebi in its wisdom says that since majority of the 20,000-odd people to whom it sent mails about their deposits did not respond, they are bogus or non-existent. The kind of questionnaire sent by the market regulator is beyond the realm of a well-read person and needs a high degree of expertise to be filled in and returned.
Secondly, when a person is asked to contact the Sebi headquarters in Mumbai for a refund of Rs 8,000, he/she feels it is not worth it. Thirdly, if the investor has already been refunded by Sahara, why should he claim a bogus or double refund? The most interesting aspect of the episode is that the same 20,000-odd investors from whom Sebi did not receive reply, Sahara got KYC and refund discharge vouchers in the standard prescribed and accepted form from over 16,000 people.
RBI refunded about Rs 22,000 crore is not acceptable to Sebi. The regulator is not willing to work with Sahara.
Sebi is not able to locate investors and yet it wants more money. Why and for what is something that Sebi needs to answer? In the Saradha case, which rocked West Bengal last year, thousands of investors came out to protest and there were a few cases of suicides as well.
Why do not we see similar protests in the Sahara case if there are millions of unpaid investors as claimed by Sebi? I believe in the current situation it makes sense for Sebi to seek help of bodies concerned in reaching out to the investors and seeing that the money due is refunded at the earliest.
The Supreme Court has also said that if Sahara's help is taken in doing so, there is no reason why the investors cannot be found and their rightful money be repaid. Like I said in the beginning, the case of Sebi versus Sahara is not one of investor protection but something which goes beyond that.


Let’s Imagine! Imagine Charlie Chaplin not being the legendary comedian that he was. Or Arnold Swarzeneger not the action icon we all know him as. Imagine Sachin Tendulkar not being the celebrated cricketer but a regular 9 to 5 school teacher or if electricity was never invented. What would it be like if Newton had never discovered the Law of Gravity or Einstein had not made those elaborate inventions?  What if Elvis continued driving trucks or Satyajit Ray wasn’t an illustrious story teller? Difficult and rather unfamiliar and absurd hypothesis! Would these people be still famous, brilliant and celebrated if they were not in their chosen professions? What would have our lives been like in the absence of these people or their world changing contributions to humanity? The answer can only be left to one’s imagination and with no certainty can anyone claim that they be who they are today or what would our existence been like, if these men were not true to their calling.

Now for a moment, let’s imagine a bit further. Would Sahara India have avoided the existential crisis, they are in today, had they not chosen to provide a sound, secure & lawful financial structure to a stratum of the society who has always stood ignored amongst the tall claims of social and economic development? What would the lives and future of these millions of depositors would have been like if they didn’t have a secure medium to invest and save and flourish? What would the future of the children growing in these millions of households have hold? Would they be educated? Would there be employment for the unemployed or the less skilled or the poor? Would there have been economic empowerment for the have nots who do not have the means or the sanction to even hold a bank account or a legitimate Id? Would the chief of Sahara India, Subrata Roy, have saved himself the witch hunt by a National Regulator or avoided jail had he chosen to create a lush empire and focused on serving himself rather than serving the people? Such a swarm of hypotheticals starting with just one simple question, “Imagine?”

Sadly, there are no simple answers. Only simple questions. The answers are complex, unfathomable and lead down to a road of nefarious possible motives, juxtapositions & outcomes. SEBI’s motives juxtaposed with the Court’s senseless brickbat blows on the Sahara Chief only adds insult to the common man’s understanding of productive regulation and fair justice. Even more dangerously, the imagination of SEBI and the Courts have taken a turn for the worse and seem to be more heavily invested in feeding their own egos, their illogic and mindless banter rather than using that imagination to serve and secure.

Currently, SEBI has been claiming that investor accounts provided by Sahara are fictitious and the regulator’s independent verification has failed to make any headway. SEBI so far has been able to repay less than 1 crore rupees to OFCD investors even though  its been 18 months since Sahara deposited 5,120 crore rupees with the market watchdog. Interestingly, in 2008, Sahara had paid back around 4 crore depositors under strict supervision of Reserve Bank of India. The central bank, then, did not stumble upon any such fictitious account and the OFCD issue had almost same set of investors. So is SEBI imagining these investors as fictitious or is it disguising its incompetence. To further add to the comedy of errors, the Supreme Court has expressed its displeasure over SEBI’s tardy pace in verifying these investor accounts in Sahara’s OFCD issue. I can only imagine the embarrassment the courts must be facing at the hands of the regulator’s malfunction. And who is paying the price for all this mockery. The innocent, the lawful and the poor!

Let’s tax our imagination one more time and explore another set premise. What if Sahara is innocent? What if the Sahara supremo is being wrongfully accused and punished? Is SEBI acting in the best interest of the depositors or is it blinded by its punitive sense of dominion? What would it be like if SEBI realized and acknowledged that these investors in question are for real? What would it be like if there was no Sahara to begin with? Are these questions that have real and heavy implications or are they just plain rhetoric?

The answers can only be left to unfold as time and events pass by. The outcomes would be real and the consequences can either set unhealthy & dire precedents or can pave way to a truthful, mindful and fair premise. Just IMAGINE..!!!


As funny as it may appear but the Sahara Sebi issue strangely reminds me of
Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”. For those who did not comprehend the
context, I’ll draw the parallel for you. SEBI disguised as the vindictive,
devious Shylock, drags Antonio (in this case Sahara) to reinforce his absurd
claim to Antonio’s 1 pound of flesh (interestingly the pound of flesh here
refers to the approximately 20,000 crores). As readers, we all knew that
Shylock was nothing short of killing Antonio in the court of law. A
befitting analogy to the Sahara Sebi dispute.

As preposterous as the title may sound, the witch hunt against the Sahara
supremo, Subrata Roy Sahara, is inches away of being an ill intentioned
corporate honour killing in progress by the highest authorities perched in
position of power and clout in India. A vicious attempt to execute an entire
corporate just to see it go on its knees bleeding, only to entertain the
prejudicial whims of a few.

Before this takes any form of further elaboration, an immediate look at the
economic quicksand we as an economy are in may add some perspective to what
you all will feed your minds with further down this piece. On one hand,
unemployment, fiscal deficits, an all time low in entrepreneurship and
inflation are some of the fiends we hope to fight off in the ongoing
elections. The gap between the haves and the have nots only deepens. On the
other hand, we have a senseless, irrational litigation running in the courts
against Sahara at the behest of SEBI, which until now has served absolutely
no purpose, lacks any grain of logic or fiscal sensibility and appears to be
making a mockery of our judicial system.

The Supreme Court epitomizes the judicial soul of the country.  An extremely
powerful entity that has the privilege and the clout of imparting judicial
discourse and lending sensibility in much senseless times we live in. What
does not make sense is when these minds of logic and intellect facilitate in
pronouncing judgement and infer, rather impose, guilt upon Sahara without
any grain of proof and assist an absurd claim of a regulator to a pound of
flesh that a) only reveals the regulator’s prejudicial & draconian approach
towards fiscal regulation in a free democratic country and b) severely
impairs the business sensibilities and economics of growth and development.

Subrata Roy, perhaps is the only corporate leader who comes from the region
of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan or MP. He can be attributed to have brought UP onto
the map of corporate leadership apart from its pre-existing electoral might
that UP is already known for. He has infact spawned employment for thousands
of people, catalyzed entrepreneurs, contributed massively to state revenues
and GDP and heavily fuelled CSR initiatives not just at a state but at a
national level too. He has gifted the poor with economic empowerment and
generated a fiscal device of investment and savings for these have nots.

SEBI’s claims about Sahara’s business practices hold no metal & more
dangerously are premised on an assumption. Having failed to verify the
thousands of documents and the veracity of the Sahara investors, SEBI has
assumed to put the blame of its malfunction on an assumption that these
investors are “fictitious”. This coming from the national regulator is an
extremely hazardous premise. How can a regulator be so negligent and
irrational in hurling such grave allegations when they themselves have not
fulfilled the obligations of due diligence that is pending at their end.
Having failed to do so, they have not only declared a war against a
corporate whose business, in the absence of any proof, stands absolutely
legitimate but have also cloaked their incompetency by pronouncing Sahara
guilty. Again, no proof of that too!

Assumptions are dangerous toys in the hands of a mindless child here. It is
the knife with which SEBI intends of extract its pound of flesh. For moment
here, let’s walk into the dangerous premise of that assumption and assume
that SEBI is granted its wish. It takes its pound of flesh of Sahara. Sahara
compromises and pays the disputed amount to SEBI. Now, having done that what
I would really like to know is how does SEBI plans to distribute this money
amongst the investors, who it in the first place, according to SEBI, were
fictitious? More so, if even we assume that by some work of miracle they do
locate these investors, shoves the money down their throats which, to begin
with, these depositors intended to keep invested, where do these depositors
take this money? This question is important because these investors are
daily rickshaw pullers, small roadside vendors and daily wage earners who
probably do not hold a 7 vault safe in their houses. If they have permanent
houses in the first place is also dubious. They are not account holders and
definitely lurking around the poverty line. Has SEBI worked on an alternate
investment plan for these investors if they wish to continue investing their
money? How does SEBI plans to ensure the financial health, whatever little
they may have? For future where do these small depositors go for their
savings because the only avenue they had as Sahara is already standing with
more than its pound of flesh missing and hemorrhaging to death?

A regulator and especially the courts cannot drop the burden of substantial
proof, moral & social obligations of their assessments and most certainly
cannot entertain prejudicial whims and eccentricities. Their roles have been
carved and evolved in a democratic society only to protect, serve and
nurture. Witch hunts and executions have no room where “Where words come out
from the depth of truth, Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards
perfection, Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way, Into the

dreary desert sand of dead habit...”. Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone