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Raju, a feared man in US and India

January 07, 2009 15:13 IST

Years after the foreign media wondered if Americans should be afraid of Ramalinga Raju more than Osama Bin Laden beacuse of jobs they lost to India, experts said on Wednesday the fear seems to have come true, although for a different reason.

"Raju has certainly inflicted a huge blow to the India story on the global business arena and the companies across the world would be much more vigilant before engaging any Indian company for their business purposes," said an analyst.

Way back in 2004, American media had reported that it was not only dreaded terrorist Osama whom the Americans were afraid of, but Raju was a feared man too as millions of jobs were being outsourced to Indian companies like Satyam [Get Quote].

Talking to Canadian newspaper Financial Post at that time, Raju downplayed the fear generated by Satyam and others regarding the impact on the North American economy.

"In my opinion, the fear is misplaced," Raju had said during a visit to Canada in October 2004. Noting that Americans were only seeing one side of the picture, he had said, adding that the outsourcing trend had helped create lakhs of jobs in India and jobs were also being created in the US and Canada with firms like Satyam setting up shop there.

While the context has changed completely, the level of financial wrongdoing revealed on Wednesday by Raju at Satyam makes him a feared man in the corporate world, another analyst said.

"Tables have turned upside-down now. The threat that Raju was to the US earlier is now a threat to the entire India Inc," brokerage firm SMC Global's vice president Rajesh Jain told PTI.

"Having been a job-creator for corporate India for years, Raju has now turned into a money-grabber through financial bungling and corporate governance malpractices," Jain added.

"Situations are strikingly different from them to now. Satyam was a highly respected company at that time with an impressive client base and there were no questions about its corporate governance," consultancy and auditing major KPMG's Chief Operating Office Richard Rekhy told PTI.

Terming Wednesday's developments as 'shocking,' all the market observers, analysts and experts criticised Raju and said that it could have serious implications for India Inc's global image as well as the overall market here.

"This is a fraud that has been perpetuated over the years and top management has been involved in it so many years, keeping the auditors in dark," KPMG's Rekhy said.

"Today's events would put significant pressure on GDRs and ADRs of all the Indian companies, not just Satyam and the premium at which overseas securities of domestic companies are trading are at a risk," Sharekhan's Research head Gaurav Dua said.

Another brokerage house Religare Hichens Harrison said that the developments would make even Satyam unattractive for any competitor or private equity player for a possible takeover.

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