Once a king, now a pariah | india | Hindustan Times
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Once a king, now a pariah

Slogan-shouting youth brigades that parked themselves opposite Chanchalguda central jail have vanished. The bouquets and flowers are gone. Mounds of cards wishing Raju well no longer arrive at this prison any more, reports Ashok Das.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2009 00:18 IST
Ashok Das

From a hero to a pariah, what a fall for Raju (which, incidentally, means ‘king’ in Telugu).

Slogan-shouting youth brigades that parked themselves opposite Chanchalguda central jail have vanished. The bouquets and flowers are gone. Mounds of cards wishing him well no longer arrive at this prison any more. The Raju ‘acolytes’ have fallen silent.

“I was one of his admirers and from his confession letter assumed that he had only cooked the books just to show profitability and growth quarter after quarter, to impress the world. I am horrified to learn that he built a superstructure of lies and siphoned hundreds of crores of rupees to his personal companies,” said Mahesh Kumar, who had joined the group that had lodged itself outside the Chanchalguda jail to express solidarity with Raju.

Mahesh’s friends, who had formed an informal group and created a website to lobby support for Raju in the initial days are a totally disillusioned lot. “I don’t know whom to believe, whom to trust. It’s a betrayal I cannot get over,” said G Nagesh.

The Raju community was more voluble in their support for their “most famous bidda(son).” Besides publicly hailing achievements of Raju, including his community service, a delegation of the community members met Chief Minister Rajasekhar Reddy and allegedly offered to cover up the losses, in return for a guarantee that Raju would not go to jail. Needless to say the proposal had no takers.

Now few of these community members are coming forward to defend Raju. One leader whom this reporter contacted refused to be quoted. “It’s a lost cause. He has committed so many crimes that he is indefensible,” said another member belonging of the community.

The employees and associates, who put up banners, performed havans and gave sound bites to TV channels are missing in action. “We were asked to show our solidarity with Raju. But now few want to espouse his cause. Even his cronies are keeping a low profile,” said one associate.

However, one division of Satyam continues to dutifully serve its fallen master. The vehicles of Satyam BPO make two visits a day to the jail ferrying clothes, fruits, medicines, and books for Raju.