The controversial retired bureaucrat from Maharashtra, RC Sinha, who is currently working for the state government again in Nagpur air cargo project, is trying hard to distance himself from the now infamous Raju family and the Maytas that he was associated until early this month. Sinha was chairman of the Maytas, the company floated by the Raju family.
The retired bureaucrat claimed that as soon as the Satyam controversy hit the media headlines, he sent in his resignation from Maytas and forwarded a copy of his resignation to SEBI on January 5, 2009 morning. Sinha, who is also the vice chairman and managing director of Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), said that if ever he had an inkling of a fraud either in Maytas or Satyam, he would not have even remotely thought of accepting the chairmanship of Maytas." I did not notice anything wrong with the company when I joined it as chairman. Whenever I attended the board meetings of Maytas, I did not notice anything amiss nor did the proceedings raise any suspicions," he said.
Sinha claimed that he was merely a figurehead at Maytas as an honourary chairman and part-time non-executive director, and hardly ever dealt with any financial matter. "Remember, I was offered for the Mahytas chairmanship way back in 2005. As I knew Ramlinga Raju personally, and the company enjoyed good reputation in the market, I did not hesitate to accept the post," he pointed out.
Sinha further said that because of his strong performance in building major infrastructure project for the Maharashtra government in 90's, he had received several offers for key jobs from many state governments, including Andhra Pradesh, after his retirement from the civil service. "Since AP had lined up some ambitious infrastructure project I joined the AP government to explore new challenges. It was during my tenure with the AP government that I first met with Raju, who used to be a close confidant of the then chief minister Chandra Babu Naidu," he informed.
He was also under fire for allegedly favouring Satyam while providing land at MIHAN in Nagpur at a throwaway price. It was alleged that Sinha was instrumental in allotting 130-acre to Satyam at the special economic zone in MIHAN at just Rs 18 lakh per acre, much below the then prevailing market price of around Rs 80-lakh per acre.
Sinha defended by saying that Satyam was allotted land in 2005, whereas he joined Maytas Infrastructure in October 2007. He claimed that Satyam deal had helped to push the MIHAN project. "I persuaded Satyam to invest at MIHAN when nobody was ready to come here," he pointed out and denied that there was any conflict of interest in his heading MIHAN and also being chairman of Maytas. "After I retired as an IAS officer, I had specifically laid down a condition that I would be free to join other organisations as long as it did not clash with MADC," he claimed.
On the other hand, the Opposition leader in Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and a Congress leader, Praful Gudadhe-Patil demanded action against Sinha for favouring Satyam. He also asked for a thorough inquiry into all land deals in MIHAN project finalized by Sinha.