Satyam ‘one-off delinquency’: Kamal Nath


New Delhi : Commerce Minister Kamal Nath continued to maintain that the Rs.70 billion fraud at Satyam Computer Services was a “one-off delinquency”, though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called it a “blot” on India’s corporate image.

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“One cannot smear the Indian corporate sector. Such exceptions have happened in other parts of the world also – and they have been treated so,” Kamal Nath told the “Partnership Summit 2009” referring to the financial fraud at the Hyderabad-headquartered IT major.

“It is a one-off delinquency and an exception in India’s corporate sector,” he told the summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), adding: “India has high standards of corporate governance.”

Satyam is facing a major financial mess and a serious threat in continuing its operations because of the Rs.70 billion fraud, admitted two weeks ago by its founder and former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju.

“I want to assure you that India’s corporate sector has good corporate governance norms,” Kamal Nath told the packed Durbar Hall of Taj Palace Hotel here, which included delegates from nearly 20 countries.

The minister’s comments came barely two days after Manmohan Singh told an awards function of a leading business daily that the Satyam scam was a “blot” on India Inc’s image and that the government would unravel the plot and punish the guilty.

“The Satyam episode is a blot on our corporate image. It indicates how fraud and malfeasance in one company can inflict suffering on many and can also tarnish India’s image more broadly,” the prime minister had said.

“The government is determined to unravel the full nature of the fraud and punish those involved under the due process of law,” he had said at The Economic Times Awards function at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai, attended by the who’s who of India Inc.