Ramalinga Raju has spent more than two years in judicial custory. Thanks to his good behaviour, the jail authorities have allowed him to use a computer. He has been also been given a mail id in the Chanchalguda mail server, where every mail is censored. Using his new iPad2 with 3G, presented to him by his wife Nandini, he answers questions from the public. Given his strength in dealing with Corporate ethics, most of the questions relate to this topic.
Q 1. (Arvind from Delhi) Sir, Do you think what Kiran Bedi did by inflating her travel bills was wrong ?
RR : When straightforward people try to do petty theft, they get caught. At Satyam, we were inflating our books for years. We created so many fake Fixed Deposit receipts. We never got caught. I surrendered voluntarily and until I announced , no one knew.
Q 2. (Vijay from Bangalore) I have a similar problem in my company. I know a salesman who travels by sleeper class, but claims AC- 2 Tier fare?
RR : You should be thankful that this person is travelling. I know many executives, who do not travel at all. They get their work done on phone and submit inflated travel bills to the company. I suggest, you put this salesman on the fast track. He has good potential and is set for bigger things.
Q3. (Anil from Gurgaon) I am the Finance Manager from a mid-size IT company. I routinely see many of my senior managers submitting large client entertainment bills. I often wonder how could three people have five Chicken tikkas and six malai koftas in dinner. I apprehend that he is converting liquor bills to food bills. ?
RR : Ha Ha ! That is the biggest hypocrisy in India. What is client entertainment without some liquor. It is time the companies and tax authorities accept this as a reality. The managers and restaurants are compelled to convert liquor bills to food bills. I see nothing wrong in it. Just be on the look out, if they are entertaining their mistresses /girlfriends and submitting client entertainment bills. The HP chief did that and lost his job.
Q4 ( Prabhakar from Infocity) I am a Manager in IT outsourcing company. I have the responsibility of placing software engineers in various client sites abroad. In order to meet the client and visa requirements, I am asked by my company to doctor the CVs of my engineers. When I complain about this to my colleagues, they brush it aside as an occupational hazard. What do you suggest sir?
RR : I think, you should have no qualms in doing that. This is the IT industry’s best kept secret. When the foreign company says it wants a software engineer, it actually wants a data entry operator. By taking a data entry operator’s CV and calling him a software engineer, you are doing nothing wrong. They want a data entry operator and you give them one. Only the visa authorities and prospective father-in-laws do not know that.
Q5 (Geeta from Hyderabad) I am a journalist with a local newspaper. I would like to know your opinion on the PM’s announcement about strict laws against corporate sector corruption also ?
RR : I welcome it. When I was busy managing the complex affairs of Satyam and Maytas, I used to hear a lot of rumours about corruption in our companies. I used to hear HR guys were getting expensive gifts from private engineering colleges and placement consultants. I hear they used to give fake job offers to unsuspecting people from small towns on payment. Some of our senior officers who were entrusted with paying speed money for infrastructure contracts, often used to pocket a big share of that. I think it is a good move. But since PM is saying that, I doubt if anything will come out of it.
Q6 ( Prasanna from Kakinada) I am an entrepreneur who is in the advanced stage of negotiating for a large infrastructure project. I have been promised the contract, provided I give a large sum of money as kickback to a Minister. I do not have such a large amount of money in black. Can you please suggest a method of paying money in white ?
RR : This is the first problem, that is challenging. I will suggest, you find out if the Minister has any relative, preferably a son. Create some shell companies in the son’s name. Then ask the shell companies to private placement of shares at a premium. Through your public limited company, you subscribe to the share issue. That way, you pay in white and be legally above board.
Q7. ( Dhiraj from Mumbai) I am a sharebroker from Mumbai. I have lost a lot of money in Anil Ambani group company shares. What do you think about three executives of ADAG companies in jail ?
RR : I think Anil did a smart thing. I am sure he would have paid a big sum to those executives to take the blame and go to jail on his behalf. He is lucky, he has an elder brother to protect him. How I wish I had one ? I was too much of a proud Kshatriya to take all the blame.
Q8 . (NCR from NCR) I hear the business environment in Hyderabad is not the same. What is your opinion on Telangana ?
RR : I am this Coastal Andhra person, who made it big in Hyderabad. The T-agitators are against people like me. For me, the world is limited to Chanchalguda and NIMS. I don’t care whether these are in Samaikhya Andhra, Telangana or in the Union Territory of Hyderabad.
Q9 . (Sonia from Secunderabad) I had read in the papers, that you play badminton to keep yourself fit in the jail. With whom are you playing these days ?
RR : That’s right. These days, I am playing badminton with the Reddy brothers of Bellary Though I had no business connections with them, we spent a lot of time together in the waiting hall of YSR’s bungalow. We have lots of interesting conversations, while we play Badminton.
Q 10. (Raju from Bhimavaram) Sir, we still adore you as a hero here in Bhimavaram. Now that you have been allowed to use a computer, how I wish you would write your autobiography ?
RR : I hear that a mini-publishing industry has sprung up in India writing about Satyam. I am afraid, I have nothing new to say on this.
(This is a work of fiction)
( This post first appeared in www.tsr.net.co)