Notes to Myself



Chanda Kocchar, Videocon case and test of “ना खाऊंगा ना खाने दूंगा”

Some interesting stories have unfolded in the Indian Banking and Financial Sector in last 1-2 months. First, there was the Nirav Modi and Punjab National Bank scam, and since then many Banking frauds or scams are coming in light.

But there is one peculiar story that is still not being seriously pursued. Few days ago there was a news that the Top two ladies at the two leading private banks in India have been summoned by SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office). Usually the bank officials from the concerned branch are called for such questioning. So it was a bit surprising to see that the CEOs were called. One of them happened to be ICICI Bank’s CEO Chanda Kocchar.

Then last week some stories broke out in few lesser known media, individual blogs that Chanda Kocchar was caught in a dubious deal involving Videocon group and her husband’s joint venture where ICICI Bank (headed by Chanda Kocchar) lent large sums of loan, and eventually Videocon was declared as Non Performing Asset (thereby helping her husband’s JV).

The story was not picked up by any major newspaper or TV media until this week. It was said in hush-hush manner that the case has been referred to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the PMO is sitting on the file but not willing to act. Some suggested that it is going to be a major test of Prime Minister’s motto, which he used to brag about often (but not much of late!), “ना खाऊंगा ना खाने दूंगा” – Won’t take bribe myself and won’t let others take

It is indeed a sad situation that such high profile cases are not pursued in transparent manner and politics and electorate convenience always takes over.

You should remember that Chanda Kocchar was among the top bankers who had praised the monumental blunder of Demonetization. She had called it a “gamechanger” !?

Just yesterday the ICICI Bank board announced that they back Chanda Kocchar amid nepotism rumors. See how conveniently the case has been transformed from a fraud to a nepotism issue!

Let’s see how the case unfolds and who pursues it. I have a major investment in ICICI Group companies, mainly because of their track record and sound corporate governance. But now I am not sure if they do have such high standards – in fact, does anybody else in India can claim to have highest Corporate Governance standards? We have seen the mighty fall of Satyam Computers. We have seen internal squabbles at Tata Group (Mistry vs Ratan Tata), we have seen similar power struggle in Infosys (Narayana Murthy vs Vishal Sikka). All these were reputed firms/groups who seemed so fragile once these issues came to surface.

So now one cannot be 100% sure that any business house or company or person is infallible.

In my view the Chanda Kocchar “scam” or “nepotism” issue is going to blow into a major controversy soon, and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be under pressure to act in this matter. Not sure if he is willing to…given the fragile state of Indian Banking Sector and the reputation of Chanda Kocchar.

Update: 31st March 2018:

CBI has registered preliminary inquiry into the Videocon-Kochhar case. Let’s see how this shapes up. How much of politics and how much of genuine inquiry/investigation…




Demonetization anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of #Demonetization in India. And the nation is divided vertically on whether it was a disaster or it was a divine act. You cannot be in the middle, you have to have a position. And based on that you will be labelled and attacked/trolled/criticized or revered/hailed/saluted.

Here are few articles I am reading currently:

The Economist Article

Demonetisation’s Economic Impact: $15 Billion On 3 Vital Sectors

A year after demonetisation, its effects have still not been quantified

But black money is not kept under the pillow: Pronab Sen of IGC India

An Account Of India’s Attempts To Curb The Black Economy, And Why They Don’t Work

The stated objectives of #Demonetization were:

  1. To curb black money – unsuccessful. Because all cash is not black money. And black cash is a flow and not stock. We should have focused on Black Wealth.
  2. To stop terrorist funding – unsuccessful. It may have reduced terror funding for a while; but during last one year new currency notes were seized from terrorists
  3. To move India towards less-cash economy – only partially successful. Because of very low base, there was initial jump in Digital transactions (when expressed as %, it looked even bigger), but that has stabilized or is slowly declining.
  4. Ravi Shankar Prasad, the union minister has invented another illogical and nonsense “benefit” of demonetization yesterday. Check below news reportDemo5


On downside, there was tremendous chaos. Almost 150 people died while standing in queues. Standing in queues was hailed as a badge of patriotism. This caricature summarizes that thought well.


Economy contracted drastically – this was further accentuated by poorly executed GST implementation. The cash is back at the previous levels. Instead of 500/1000, we have 2000 rupee notes – so black cash can be stashed even more conveniently. And yes, there is no chip in 2000 rupee note!

Government is going all out and deploying several ministers, MPs and media agents to “celebrate” this day as “Anti Black Money Day”. This is like adding insult to injury. Nobody is favoring black money. But that cannot justify the illogical and ill-planned step that Demonetization was.

And there were rumors that today the PM might announce another “masterstroke” move – against Benami property (illegal/unaccounted property). Well, you can only keep calm and wait till 8 PM today for another “Mitron…” moment. Till then, happy Demonetization anniversary – in whichever way you choose to observe it…

P.S.: Don’t forget that today is also birthday of BJP Marga Darshak L. K. Advani! Born on 8th Nov 1927.

P.P.S: For Marathi people, आज पु ल देशपांडे यांचा देखील जन्मदिवस आहे (८-नोव्हेंबर-१९१९)





Demonetization anniversary eve


This is what Dr. Manmohan Singh had said about Demonetization in Rajya Sabha – monumental mismanagement! A case of organized loot and legalized plunder…!

He had predicted a fall of 2% GDP and he was largely right!


Rs. 2000 currency note was supposed to have a chip, according to this Aaj Tak report!


Here is the latest interview of Dr. Manmohan Singh on the anniversary of #Demonetization


If you want to see how the “brain behind demonetization” Mr Anil Bokil spoke a different tune before and after demonetization watch these two interviews (in Marathi).

Anil Bokil interview just after Demonetization was announced

Anil Bokil interview after Demonetization was confirmed to have failed, after RBI statistics

नोटाबंदी खरेच फसली का? अनिल बोकील यांची एक्स्क्लुझिव्ह मुलाखत

See difference in his body language and confidence; how defensive he gets in the second interview.

More than 100 people died standing in queues. Huge visible/tangible negative impact on Economy. What was achieved? How much of it is sustainable? Was Demonetization worth it? Who takes the responsibility and accountability for this monumental blunder?

First anniversary of Demonetisation

One year after “Mitron…” Day i.e. remembering (not celebrating) first anniversary (8-Nov-2016) of Demonetisation…

Will post throughout this week jokes and articles that showcase the blunder called Demonetization.

Here is a parody song to begin with:

बार बार फैंको, हजार बार फैंको…

Demonetization – Archive

Yesterday (8th October 2017) we completed 11 months of #Demonetization; and now we are into the 12th month. We’ll complete 1 year of Demonetization on 8th November 2017 and there is bound to be a lot of debate on whether Demonetization was successful or not, and to what extent (and at what cost).

I have been following many discussions, debates and articles on Demonetization during last 11 months and have also blogged a few times. So I thought of creating a thread – an archive to start compiling all such links related to Demonetization at one place.

Will keep on adding to it and you are also welcome to contribute.

Blogs I wrote:

Magnitude of Demonetization

Demonetization and Fiscal Deficit

Interview with think tank behind Demonetization – Anil Bokil

One Month After Demonetization

Audio/Video on Demonetization:

My Professor at IIM-A Satish Deodhar discusses on Demonetization


Raghuram Rajan on Demonetization

Amartya Sen on Demonetization

Economist Arun Kumar on Demonetization (in Hindi)

Arun Kumar on Black Money and Black Economy (on backdrop of Demonetization)

Arun Kumar on Demonetization and Black Money

(Marathi) नोटाबंदी खरेच फसली का? अनिल बोकील यांची एक्स्क्लुझिव्ह मुलाखत

S Gurumurthy on Demonetization

Subramanian Swamy on Demonetization

P Chidambaram on Demonetization

Demonetization – A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Hindi – Ravish Kumar on Demonetization

Arun Shouri on Demonetization (in Nov 2016)

Arun Shouri on Demonetization (in Oct 2017)

Early View on Demonetization (in Nov 2016)

Raghav Bahl on Demonetization (Sep 2017) – through lens of Human Behavior rather than Economics/Finance

One of the best takes on Demonetization is by Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Chief Global Strategist Ruchir Sharma where he called Demonetization as a misguided step.

Ruchir Sharma on Demonetization

Updated on 11th October 2017:

Yashwant Sinha on Demonetisation ‘Our worst fears have come true





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