Right signal sent
Corporate fraud will not be dealt with an easy hand: that is the signal that has been sent by the Supreme Court by summoning Samsung boss Lee Kun-hee to a court appearance on Wednesday. Kun-hee, who has been implicated in a $1.4 million cheating case, has been directed to publicly appear in a Ghaziabad court, even as the 72-year-old might have to face arrest in case of a non-appearance. The instance of Kun-hee is one among many cases of corporate fraudulence which have been hitherto given a rather lenient treatment by both the government and judiciary. Case in point is Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher airlines which has borrowed money from public sector banks but has till date not returned them. In addition, the tough stance on Sahara has also ignited the spirits of a sleepy bureaucracy and complicit state machinery to come down heavily against any indication of private sector laundering. Samsung’s Kun-hee has been taken to task by the Indian company JCE consultancy and it is indeed a brave attempt on the part of the latter to stand up against the technology behemoth. However, what remains to be seen is how far the officials are able to go before meekly giving in to the whims of the rich corporates, whether domestic or foreign. For example, can the government really take on Reliance and its many indiscretions? Will the authorities concerned intervene and regulate the hiked gas, water and power prices to soothe the flared nerves of the common man? We need to watch this space keenly for signs of that. Summoning Kun-hee to court has sent out a signal that law shall prevail.