“The First Scam : A Detailed Story Of Haridas Mundhra” by Mahendra Arya is a compelling account of one of the most infamous financial scams in India’s history. The book provides a detailed and gripping narrative of how Haridas Mundhra managed to takeover big English companies in India in a short period and how he mortgaged shares of his companies with banks more than even the paid-up capital.
The author delves into the complex web of political and financial intrigue surrounding the scandal and answers many questions that have lingered in the public domain for decades. The book sheds light on why the Government of India tried to bail him out, when his fraud had surfaced and why Life Insurance Corporation Of India invested in his sinking company’s shares, public funds to the extent of Rs. 1.25 crores.
The author also examines the alleged quid pro quo arrangement between Mundhra and the Congress party, the role of Feroze Gandhi in unearthing the scam, and why the then finance minister T.T.Krishnmachari was forced to resign. The book also explores the role of the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of India chairmen in the scam and why the heat reached to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The book is well-researched and offers a comprehensive account of the scandal, connecting all the dots on the basis of available information. The author’s writing style is engaging and keeps the reader hooked from beginning to end. The Mundhra Scandal is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the roots of corruption and deceit in India’s post-independence era.