July 22, 2018

P7 – What is Chidambaram really worth?


A look at how Chidambaram was the Rain Maker for his party. Finance Ministry must have been a hobby.


 Sree Iyer

July 16, 2018

A look at how Chidambaram was the Rain Maker for his party. Finance Ministry must have been a hobby.

Parts 1-6 can be accessed here. This is the concluding part.

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them – thus wrote William Shakespeare.

The erudite evil genius that he is, P Chidambaram (PC) perhaps wanted to come up with his own variation of the above phrase –

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some will buy greatness at any cost.

I have said this before and will say it again here. It is the burning ambition of every Indian politician to die a Prime Minister (PM), even if for just one day. This is especially difficult for a member of the Congress party, since the eighties – Indira Gandhi placed loyalty above everything else and the fact that some nonGandhis became the PM was more out of serendipity and luck than sheer ability (e. g. P V Narasimha Rao, who practically ran the government under Rajiv Gandhi). But money can move mountains and minds, especially the ones that matter when the question of who shall lead the country crops up.

What is PC really worth?

An excellent question that can perhaps be answered by looking at the utterances of his son Karti Chidambaram, who in a rare moment of candor, revealed that he was worth Rs.6L crores ($100 billion). A copy of the Direct Message that he sent to a Twitter user is shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Karti Chidambaram’s boast

I wanted to try and break down his claimedwealth of Rs.6L crores and see from where he could have amassed it. Figure 2 shows some of the scams in which Mr. Chidambaram and his family are involved in. I am going to do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation to see if the numbers add up to Rs.6,00,000 crores. The investigative agencies can and will be able to drill down the details…

NSE co-location scam

This has been extensively documented in the series on High-Frequency

Figure 2. Money making avenues of P Chidambaram

Trading scam and the amount of money in question is between Rs.50,000 crores to Rs.75,000 crores[1].

Offshore assets

PGurus has a detailed article, listing the various properties that the Chidambaram family has acquired all over the world[2]. The conservative estimate of the value of these works out to be around Rs.20-25,000 crores ($3 – $4 billion).


ICICI Bank’s loan to Videocon was Rs.40,000 crores ($6 billion)[3]. Several loans from ICICI Bank under Chanda Kochhar have had 10% kickback to her (through her family members)[4].  If the Bank CEO got 10% kickback of a loan that was essentially a farce, imagine how much of a cut the top guy in the Finance Ministry, who ordered it, would get! 25% of the loan amount is a conservative estimate. Now do the math – The amount of Non-Performing Assets (NPA)s in the country is Rs.10L crores. 25% of this works out to a cool Rs.2.5 Lakh crores ($40 billion).

PGurus wrote about the findings of the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on a huge scam in coal imports from Indonesia, during the period 2008-2010[5]. In a nutshell, it is an instance of the over-invoicing of coal. Even though the ships directly land in India from Indonesia, the bills were routed through fictitious and benami firms in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai before landing in India. This is just one instance – there are several that happened in the UPA regime.

Benami ownership

Looking at the ownership structures of some of the Private Banks and entities like the National Stock Exchange (NSE), it appears as though Mr. Chidambaram took full advantage of Participatory Notes to hide the real owners in such entities. ICICI Bank has 40% foreign ownership and HDFC 76%. NSE has close to 34% foreign ownership. As ICICI kickbacks to Chanda Kochhar emerged, no class action lawsuits happened in the United States (where ICICI is traded as an American Depository Receipt (ADR)). This is a clue that the real owners of such entities are in fact high net worth individuals from India, who have enough clout to control what the Indian government can and cannot do. Witness how no action was taken against Ms. Kochhar and her family till now… Asking her to go on a leave of absence appears to be a gentle nudge to step aside till the heat cools down.

Much of the action in these entities happened under Mr. Chidambaram’s watch. Looking at the valuations of the above entities and other as yet un-earthed firms, and if Karti Chidambaram is right, that works out to least Rs.2.5L crores invested in such ventures.

Figure 3. Chidambaram’s wealth

In Conclusion…

The estimates above need to be tracked and verified by the investigating agencies – it is not going to be easy because much of it is stashed away abroad and with every visit, Karti Chidambaram is creating new walls of obfuscation by adding more layers[6]. But frankly, the ED and CBI are looking at peanuts when they are trying to go after the Chidambaram family on INX Media and Aircel Maxis scams when there is a wedding feast that is visible to everyone except them.


[1] Anatomy of a crime P2 – The amount of the HFT loot – Sep 25, 2017, PGurus.com

[2] Chidambara Rahasya – Details of huge secret assets & foreign bank accounts of Chidambaram Family – Mar 15, 2017, PGurus.com

[3] Chidambaram knew the ICICI Bank – Videocon Rs.40,000 cr loan and other dubious deals – Apr 4, 2018, PGurus.com

[4] ICICI Bank head Chanda Kochhar and husband on the radar of probe agencies for doubtful loans to debt-ridden Videocon Group?Mar 25, 2018, PGurus.com

[5] Is Arundhati Bhattacharya protecting Coal importers who indulged in over-invoicing? Jul 23, 2016, PGurus.com

[6] How should India proceed to get back billions from Tax Havens – BringBackBillions, Part 8 – Aug 16, 2016, PGurus.com

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