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Koda of honour

Incidentally, while Koda has enthused many politicians to start taking an interest in mines, mine-owners in Karnataka have been so enamoured by the business exploits of the ex-CM of Jharkhand that they are no longer content with bankrolling politicians but want to become CMs themselves, writes Manas Chakravarty.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2009 23:35 IST

Madhu Koda’s rags to riches story has inspired several fund managers, all of whom are eager to pick up a few trade secrets from him. “I’ve been backing entrepreneurs all my life and none of them has been able to make a clean profit of Rs 4, 000 crore in such a short time,” said a venture capitalist. “The guy is obviously a business genius,” said a portfolio manager, pointing out that Koda had prudently diversified his business interests across industries ranging from mines to real estate and hotels. A hedge fund manager said he was seriously thinking of getting into the politics business. “It seems to be a high-margin, high cash flow trade,” he exulted.

Nor is Koda’s fan club limited to this country. In fact, the prices of coal and uranium mines fell dramatically as word of Koda’s troubles with the Enforcement Directorate spread. “Ah, woe is me,” said a mine-owner in the Congo. “When King Koda looked at a mine, its price went up immediately. Money was never an object with Magnanimous Madhu,” he explained.

Fund managers and mine-owners are not Koda’s only admirers. His peers in politics have looked on enviously as details about his assets have become public. “Here I am, scraping together a living by kidnapping and extortion when I could have done so much more,” said a politician from the badlands of Uttar Pradesh. “Koda has proved that we too can go global,” he added proudly. A chief minister from another state has asked his party high command for a transfer to Jharkhand as minister for mines.

“His big mistake was that he was an independent,” said a political worker, adding that he should’ve shared the moolah with a party. “That’s why we call it a party,” said a party chief.

Incidentally, while Koda has enthused many politicians to start taking an interest in mines, mine-owners in Karnataka have been so enamoured by the business exploits of the ex-CM of Jharkhand that they are no longer content with bankrolling politicians but want to become CMs themselves.

And while more and more businessmen want to get into politics, more and more politicians are diversifying into business. Reports said that at a recent seminar attended by politicians, industrialists and the financial community, fund managers urged that they should be allowed to invest in politicians. “It’s simple, really” said a stock analyst, “with investment avenues so limited these days, it’s only politicians who can deliver good returns.” “We’ll ask them to form a limited company,” said an investment banker, “for which we will do an initial public offering and list it on the stock exchange.”

Another wanted joint ventures between industrialists and politicians. He pointed to the convivial relationships that already exist between them. “We promise to list the joint ventures in New York,” said a consultant. A professor from Harvard said they would shortly be introducing courses on political business, by popular demand. A fixer said he could fix joint ventures between foreign arms merchants and politicians. Another pointed out these already existed. A stockbroker said the best way would be to list political parties. “That way,” he explained, “their supporters could become shareholders and get dividends.”

And as the debate grew and the noise became louder, the crowds who had come to watch the show looked from the politicians to the businessmen, and from the businessmen to the politicians; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint