From Deepak Parekh to Vodafone CEO Nick Read — 5 times corporates criticised Indian government and ran into trouble


  • Rahul Bajaj said Indian businesses are worried about repercussions if they criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also said there’s a climate of fear and mistrust among various economic participants including industrialists, bankers and policymakers.
  • Vodafone Chief Executive Nick Read landed himself with two lawsuits after he hinted at possible collapse in India operation.
Industrialist and Bajaj Group chairperson Rahul Bajaj is making waves for his remarks on the Modi government. The 81-year old said Indian businesses are worried about repercussions if they criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.

“None of our industrial friends will speak about it, but I’ll say that openly, You’re (Narendra Modi led government) doing a good job, but despite that, we’re not confident you’ll appreciate if we openly criticise you,” said Bajaj.

Bajaj alleged that government is creating an environment of fear where people are not allowed to question it

The comment comes at a time when the health of India’s economic growth is worse than expected. Its GDP for the second quarter fell to 4.5%. Moreso, unemployment is rising, and the banking sector is in crisis mode. Bajaj earlier too said that times are difficult time for auto sector without neither demand nor investment. In November 2019, his Bajaj Auto saw a 12% decline in sales, according to ET Auto.

Bajaj is among the handful of people who spoke against the government publicly.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too said there’s a climate of fear and mistrust among various economic participants — industrialists, bankers and policymakers.

Here are a few others who dared to bell the cat

Vodafone Chief Executive Nick Read landed himself with two lawsuits


Vodafone chief executive Nick Read landed himself with two lawsuits. In November 2019, Vodafone CEO hinted to reporters in London about a possible collapse of its Indian operation if the government does not give relief to the massive deferred spectrum dues amounting to ₹44,150 crore. As soon as the press conference was over, two lawsuits were filed against him, reported South China Morning Post.

Union Telecom and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is known to have “expressed disapproval and displeasure over the tone and tenor” of the comments to Kumar Mangalam Birla, Vodafone’s JV partner.

A day later, Read apologised to the Indian government and blamed the media coverage for distorting his remarks. He further asserted that Vodafone will “ remain invested” in India.


Kumar Mangalam Birla criticised the UPA government

Not just the Modi government, even the UPA was merciless when it came to dealing with dissenters.

In 2012, Kumar Mangalam Birla the billionaire promoter of the $48.3 billion Aditya Birla Group, famously gave currency to the phrase 'policy paralysis' which went on to describe the second five-year term of the Manmohan Singh government.

What he didn't know was that soon after the sleuths at CBI would chase him after a surprise raid at a Hindalco office found Rs 5 crore unaccounted cash in its premises. This money got linked to the infamous coal allocation scam. While the firm lost its coal mine Talbira II in Odisha, Birla himself has since been acquitted in the case of the cash in one of his offices.

HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh said there's no ease of doing business in India

A year after Modi’s landslide win in 2014, Parekh said Prime Minister had a lucky period in these nine months. “The world commodity prices are at all-time low which help India the most. I don’t see ease of doing business changing so far,” he had said. But he had to eat his words, and do a complete U-turn within five months. What transpired behind the scenes is anybody's guess.

India has lost confidence of the world: Ratan Tata

In 2016, Ratan Tata the chairman emeritus of the Tata Group said India has lost the confidence of the world and the government has been slow to recognise it.

He said the government has “swayed” under the influence of vested interests in the private sector and policies have been “changed, delayed and manipulated”. Tata, who demitted office as Tata group chairman last December, said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held India’s “esteem high but in recent times we have lost it”.

Ironically, this was the same year when BJP MP Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint against Tata, lobbyist Niira Radia, former Telecom Minister A. Raja and senior Unitech officials for allegedly laundering money to Unitech companies to obtain 2G spectrum licence.


Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, an iconic entrepreneur in the pharmaceuticals space, was asked to shut up by a government official

Biocon Chairperson and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw addresses during a press conference to announce the upcoming event 'Bengaluru Tech Summit 2019', in Bengaluru.Photo) (

After the unfortunate death of VG Siddhartha of Cafe Coffee Day, his billionaire friends from Bengaluru chimed in his support blaming aggressive tax officials for the demise of the coffee baron. However, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, an iconic entrepreneur in the pharmaceuticals space, was asked to shut up by a government official. Shaw revealed to the Telegraph.

See also
Narendra Modi has a new problem – big corporates and moneybags are angry

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