It’s no secret that there’s rampant corruption in India, everywhere. This year, we were the 76th most corrupt country out of 168 other countries! Our bureaucracy and the red-tapism truly has no match anywhere in the world. And neither are our politics free from any blame. The bottom line is that politics is a dirty business and our politicians, with their unchecked involvement in corrupt practices, have really tarnished the reputation of our country. 

Over the past 30 years or so, we have seen many cases of corruption on a massive, nation wide level.  

Here’s a list of the 10 most mind-numbing scams that were a major blow to the Indian economy and reputation:

1. Commonwealth Games scam

The news that India was going to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010 created a lot of buzz and preparations began taking place to try and make it one of the memorable events in Indian sports history. But sadly or unsurprisingly, it ended up bringing shame to the nation as reports of large scale corruption by the officials of the Games’ Organising Committee started to float around. And the poor living arrangements for athletes and representatives from other competing nations attracted a lot criticism from the international media.

Investigations revealed an embezzlement of ₹ 90 crore in the project and the Chairman of the CWG games, Suresh Kalmadi, along with his two aides, were jailed for 10 months for financial irregularities. 


2. Indian coal allocation scam

Also known as the Coalgate scam, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) found that the government exchequer had to bear a loss of ₹1.86 lakh crore because the government, instead of auctioning the coal blocks, allocated them casually, at a price lower than what it should have been.

The Supreme Court ruled that all the coal blocks between 1993 and 2010 were illegal. And former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, along with Kumar Mangalam Birla and P.C. Parakh were accused and summoned by a special court.


3. 2G spectrum scam

This was yet another scam that tarnished the image of the UPA-2. The politicians of the Congress led coalition government were accused of under-charging telecom companies and making arbitrary spectrum allocations. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), found a gap of ₹1,76, 645 crores between the money collected and the money which should have been collected according to the law. 

A. Raja, a member of the Lok Sabha, was accused and is believed to have taken ₹ 3,000 crore as a bribe to pre-pone the cut-off date for applications. The daughter of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi, was also arrested for illegal practices.

4. Bihar fodder scam

The former Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav was allegedly thought to be one of the main perpetrator in this scam. It’s also known as the Chara Ghotala scam and it spanned all through the late 80s and early 90sIt was related to forging documents of the animal husbandry department of Bihar, which supplied fodder, medicines and artificial insemination instruments for livestock all over the state. A network of politicians, government officials and senior bureaucrats involved in the scam would supply fewer goods but would misrepresent or inflate the figures in official documents. 

This forgery, which went on for years, involved an embezzlement of around ₹ 9.4 billion from the treasury of the Bihar government, and even led to Lalu Yadav resigning from his position.


5. Satyam scam

The Satyam scam has been India’s biggest accounting scandal so far. The founder of the company confessed to forging the company’s accounts and presenting false information about revenues, interest liabilities, cash balances and operating profits to the board, regulators, investors and all other stakeholders and was found guilty for misleading the market. 

In April 2015, Ramalinga Raju, the founder of the company and his brothers were sentenced to 7 years in jail, and were fined for ₹5.5 crore.

6. Hawala scandal

Hawala is an Arabic term which means an informal value transfer system. It is believed to be one of the biggest scandals involving names of well-known politicians who allegedly received money from four hawala brokers, the Jain brothers. The main accused was a man named Surinder Kumar Jain. 

The illegal payments were received between February 1988 to April 1991 and politicians like L. K. Advani, Balram Jakhar, V. C. Shukla, and Madan Lal Khurana were among the main accused.

7. Bofors scandal

The Bofors scandal or the Bofors gun deal took place during the 1980s and 90s. The Indian government bought 410 field howitzer guns from Bofors, an arms manufacturing company in Sweden. The deal was worth ₹1,500 crore! It was the also biggest arms deal ever made in Sweden and used up the money allocated for other development projects.

It was believed that former Indian Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi, among other politicians, had received illicit payments from the company in lieu of securing the arms deal with the Indian government. 

8. Harshad Mehta scam

Harshad Mehta was a very well known stock-broker who was the mastermind behind many financial crimes and financial fraud to manipulate stocks in 1992. He was accused of exploiting various loopholes in the Indian banking system and swindling the banks out of a huge sum which was estimated to be around ₹4000 crore!

After this scam, new rules were introduced by SEBI to cover the loopholes and Harshad Mehta was tried for the case for 9 years until his death in 2001.


9. 2008 cash-for-votes scandal

It was alleged that in a bid to save the UPA coalition government led by Manmohan Singh in 2008, which had lost the majority after the left parties withdrew support over the India-US civilian nuclear deal, the MPs of the BJP were bribed. 

Amar Singh, a former politician of the Samajwadi Party was accused of being a part of the conspiracy and bribing the MPs with ₹1 crore, ahead of the confidence vote.

10. Saradha Group chit-fund scam

The CBI had arrested a few prominent politicians in the Saradha group financial scandal. The scheme was more of an informal banking system or a small saving scheme in which companies raised funds either through legal ways like collective investment schemes or they forged financial documents such as teak bonds or fictitious ventures. It targeted people from low-income groups and those with no access to banking facilities. 

The corruption was revealed after a fraudulent investment scheme run by the Saradha group collapsed. The CBI investigation found the financial malpractices to the tune of ₹ 24 billion.

Looks like our politicians have a lot of explaining to do!