Corruption in India: A Case Study

Part I: The Players

I know that corruption in India is pervasive – it touches every aspect of daily life. Yet everytime I hear another story, whether of petty corruption or grand larceny, I am head-shakingly shocked; incredulous. I’m usually not in one place long enough to have to face the small payoffs or to follow the grand cover-ups from start to finish, but this one issue that has come up affects me, my friends and all of Pondicherry and the neighboring coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.


The Government of Pondicherry has offered a sweet-heart deal to a developer, Subhash Projects & Marketing Limited (SPML), to build a deep water port in Pondicherry. Not only will this be an environmental disaster, but everything about this deal is a scam – from the premise of the project (the port) to the awarding of the contract. You can read about the environmental issues on Mark’s blog, as well as on the Save Our Beach blog set up by the Pondicherry Citizens Action Network, which includes a pages with downloadable presentations and documents. I will go into more detail on the scam in a future posting. First, I want to introduce the players.

C.S. Khairwal, Chief Secretary to the Government of Pondicherry

  • Khairwal joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1974 and has a long history of corruption.
  • C.S. Khairwal is number one on the Central Vigilence Commission (CVC) list (List “A”) of officers against whom the commission has “advised launching of criminal proceedings” since 1 January 1990.
  • In December 1997, the CVC advised prosecution for Khairwal’s misconduct as Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Surface Transport.
  • He was prosecuted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for possessing “disproportionate” assets – 28 “immovable” properties valued at Rs. 20 million.  The CBI “failed” to file the appropriate papers that would have permanently seized Khairwal’s properties, so they were released back to him.
  • He was arrested with a mistress and actually spent 2 days in Tihar jail.
  • Khairwal was prosecuted by the CBI for illegal possession of a huge quantity of foreign liqour.
  • The Central Government, rather than suspending Khairwal for his crimes, “retired” him.  He promptly moved from New Delhi to Pondicherry, where he as reinstated at a higher level than his previous post. (C.S. Khairwal’s home in Pondicherry, complete with an indoor, basement, swimming pool, extends onto half of the road in front of the building. The road has to take a jog around his house.)
  • Khairwal is closely connected with the SPML, the developer to whom the port contract was awarded.  The representatives of  SPML stay at his home when they visit Pondicherry.

Subhash Projects & Marketing Limited (SPML)

“Subhash Projects & Marketing Ltd. (SPML) is India’s leading engineering, construction and project management company with more than 25 years of experience in large-scale turnkey projects in the public and private sector. Having successfully undertaken over 350 projects in the areas of water & power management, power distribution, infrastructure and environmental projects, and with a well-qualified and highly skilled team of more than 1000 engineers, the Subhash Group is geared to build a future that India has never seen.” From the SPML website

  • On 28 January 2004, SPML was debarred from accessing the securities market and dealing in securities for 5 years by the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for price manipulation, irregular subscriptions, misstatements and nonlisitng of shares. That period was reduced to 3 years on 13 December 2006 by the order of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), Mumbai.
  • SPML has no experience in building or managing ports. In fact, it was originally considered and subsequently rejected by the Governmet of Pondicherry for “want of experience.”
  • SPML was indicted and punished with fines by the Calcutta High Court and Supreme Court for obtaining contracts through underhanded dealins with the Ministry of Power.

Part II  – The Scam – coming soon.

10 Responses to “Corruption in India: A Case Study”

  1. 1 a friend May 27, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Hi, i really dont know if u are still following up this issue or not but let me tell u my friend that what u r mentioning here about kherwal is totally just a tip of the iceberg. There is a long story of SPML getting the port contract, how it came to SPML, who was the guy who brought the deal through, when and how they travelled, how has been there association etc…the truck load of money which kherwal has made from this deal is huge.
    I m glad to read this small article but wish that u could have really used some newspaper to investigate this case and u would have really brought these people to justice.
    I really wish that u r not gonna leave the issue just like this though now kherwal has been packed up from active duty but he must be made accountable for the money he has swallowed.

  2. 2 yoomilee May 27, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Dear Friend,

    Thank you for your comment. I would love to have any information that you may have in order to try and follow up this issue. Unfortunately, the newspapers in the region have been co-opted by the politicians and will not publish anything of this sort. Individual reporters that have investigated issues of illegality and corruption have been personally threatened. Therefore, there is not much support we can expect from the media.

  3. 3 Harmandeep Singh April 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I heard much about corruption. All suffers from corruption.
    India is a corrupted country. corruption in India is going on from higher level to lower level thats more lethal. I know
    corruption eat up the moral first and then scatter evil.

    mainly political leaders & higher officers are corrupted.
    They know law and how to play with it. here the IAS officers
    engaged in corruption. The lay man also learn from them.

    I love my country & motherland.

    There is just one way to get rid of corruption thats the people
    understand the demerits of corruption & unite to finish it.
    they should trace the corrupted person & give him/her to the law. if law fails to finish corruption. then people should finish the sinner. i know its not liable but evil ends when evil doers ends.It is done by GURU GOBIND SINGH JI.



    • 4 globalprobity May 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      I totaly agree to this point that it is only the people now who can fight corruption with united strenth.As the enforcement wings of the Govt. has totally failed to deal with the corrupt system in our society.
      Take the example of Police,now at present I found that without greasing the palm, the police will nevert register the complaint.This fact is known to all the police heads .
      Another example is that the enforcement agencies remain busy in collection and and they are least bothered about enforcement against the wrong doers.
      JBS Negi,(Society for public interventions(SPI))

  4. 5 kishan raj chauhan April 2, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Dear People,

    i have to say that people are supporting to the corrupted people, if people not at all support them then where is the corruption. i pray that people must be find out and give the punishment by the law. Dont fear and come forward and find out them. i am ready to find and what about you. are u ready.

  5. 6 SANJAY June 27, 2011 at 10:06 am


  6. 7 Sanjith May 27, 2019 at 12:35 am

    Your doing a good job… keep it up

  1. 1 Corruption in India - Part II « Essere Trackback on February 22, 2007 at 11:38 am
  2. 2 Corruption, Indian Style « memestream Trackback on December 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm
  3. 3 In Memoriam: Pondicherry’s Beautiful Sandy Beaches | memestream Trackback on December 10, 2016 at 5:56 am

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