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Opinion
Andy Mukherjee

India's Crony Capitalist Edifice Is Creaking

An entrenched feudal system threatens to burden the nation with an equivalent of South Korea’s chaebol discount. Change is needed.

Illustrative image of business people exchanging money representing fraud

Photographer: Fanatic Studio/Getty Images

A smug, entitled business class driven by greed and hubris, but sorely lacking in resources to legitimize their control. I could be describing the India Inc. of today – or 1959. Nothing much has changed.

Jet Airways Ltd., India’s oldest surviving private-sector airline, is about to crash land. Founder Naresh Goyal neither brought in enough new equity of his own to rescue the debt-laden carrier, nor did he allow a timely sale to suitors who wanted the business, albeit without him. Jet may yet survive, but it’s touch-and-go. Or take the country’s second-largest hospital chain, put into the trauma room by its founders’ 4 billion rupee ($56 million) fraud. Fortis Healthcare Ltd. wants brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh arrested. Complicating matters, Malvinder has accused Shivinder of siphoning funds from the family holding company and diverting them to a spiritual guru. The whole thing is an unholy mess.