Brothers in Arms

From the strange to the sublime, from the bizarre to the brazen, reams and reams of adjectives, anecdotes and analogies have been said, spoken and written on Ramalinga Raju since that fateful day on January 7, 2009. He has been named in fraudulent corporate lists, compared with Jeffrey Skilling, ranked on the Forbes scam list and been termed as an enigmatic personality. Even his jail life seemed to be making news headlines, with scoops on his reading the gita, badminton stint, his request for laptops, mobile, hospital sojourn, bail pleas etc keeping the ticker line moving.

As someone who has been part of the Satyam clan for a while, it is still extremely hard to fathom the turn of events over the past two years. Raju, who had been known and projected (and to be fair, exhibited some traits) as a gentle, soft spoken, people oriented, empathetic, caring individual - relegated to the extremely opposite dimension by the turn of events.

Yes, my personal acquaintance with him was very limited, more since he was directly reviewing progress of the client facing vertical domains (while I was part of a technology horizontal) and the only few times I had personal interactions with him were on a few occasions before a client visit – a quick 10 minute meeting prior to the visit, briefing him on the background of the clients, their needs, our proposal, the competition etc and the occasional  interactions during the annual Senior management meet and visits to CII, Nasscom etc. Yet, the aura created around him is hard to dislodge from the minds.

Amidst all this, there is one man, who my heart goes out to and that is Mr.Rama Raju, brother of Mr.Ramalinga Raju. Since he was in charge of the Horizontal Technology units, I have had the chance of meeting up with him during monthly reviews, which in turn gave me an insight to his persona, and a good chance to understand his capabilities and limitations. Here was a great human being, a friend who cared for individuals, generally kept his promises and ensured his commitments to employees and clients were honored. Yet, there was that innocence around him that inadvertently exposed his limitations - like understanding technology, communication, grasp of business beyond people to productivity ratios etc. He was a good human being, generally had a good time, globetrotting, jet setting and was a great host.

I am not for a minute justifying his doing whatever his brother told him to, without applying his mind to it (he is paying the price for it today) nor am I in line with his stance of blindly signing documents of fudged invoices or inflated numbers.  Those are things not done and that’s about it – but my heart goes out to the human being and the simpleton in him. He could have easily been led to believe that things could be pulled back, for I am convinced he did not or maybe even could not visualize the implication or the magnitude of the fudging – I would not be surprised if he was only aware of a miniscule percentile of the fudged numbers – until, maybe it was too late. He was a true Lakshman or Bharat to the elder brother Ram and took his brothers words for granted and like in the Ramayan - his brother’s wish was his command.

I am sure the law and the folks in the justice departments would have soon seen through this loyal yet unassuming brother, who has more been blown in with the tide rather than actually generating the surge. I would be surprised if they were able to get anything important out of him, for the chance of him being kept in the know how, or he getting an idea of the implications - is low.

Whatever the future holds for the Raju’s, whatever the end result of this scam, justice will prevail, for Truth always Triumphs . As you sow, so shall you reap – goes the old dictum.  

Yet, Ramu, a line of my daily prayers – truly is for you.

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