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Monday Musings: Many lessons to learn from DSK’s downfall

DSK’s is an intensely tragic saga because he was a hero, an icon, to the Maharashtrian community

pune Updated: Feb 19, 2018 13:39 IST
Abhay Vaidya
Abhay Vaidya
Hindustan Times, Pune
DSK,DS Kulkarni,arrest
DSK and his son Shirish at a press meet before his arrest.(HT Photo)

The legendary Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s classic short story, ‘How much land does a man need?” instantly comes to mind as one thinks of the tragic downfall of Pune businessman Deepak Sakharam Kulkarni.

Tolstoy’s story is about a man and his insatiable greed, and how it eventually leads to one’s downfall. It seems businessmen such as DS Kulkarni (DSK), Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, among many others like them, did not draw any lessons from this story which they would certainly have come across in their childhood or later.

For almost 18 months now, the prominent Pune builder who owes money to a few thousand investors kept making false promises about returning their money. He missed deadline after deadline while giving excuses and false assurances with a straight face. He continued to do this in the court while seeking anticipatory bail against imminent arrest.

After giving DSK adequate time and opportunity to fulfil his promises, the Bombay High Court too lost patience, refusing to grant any further protection against arrest to the chairman of DS Kulkarni Developers Ltd. and his wife Hemanti.

Finally, when the time for his arrest dawned, DSK and his wife fled into hiding. They were finally nabbed in Delhi and brought back to Pune to face justice.

DSK’s is an intensely tragic saga because he was a hero, an icon, to the Maharashtrian community. Here was the story of a determined, hard-working boy who was enterprising and imaginative and who created wealth by the dint of his labour.

He grew from humble beginnings till he hit the big time in the construction industry. He was perhaps the only builder-developer in Pune to inspire enormous trust among the people who not only purchased the middle class and luxury flats from him but also parked their life savings with him, earning higher interests than what the banks would give.

It is now clearly evident that DSK did not manage his empire well. A lot of money was lost in expansion and diversification into failed businesses and the cardinal sin that he committed was not to ensure the safety of the depositor’s funds with him.

He betrayed the common man’s trust and people who did not have any other savings to fall back on, stopped getting returns from DSK, when they needed money for routine medical treatment, a child’s wedding or family emergencies.

Did DSK, his wife Hemanti and son Shirish mismanage their business so foolishly that the couple had to finally go behind bars?

There are many lessons to draw from this sad story: Greed cannot be allowed to run amock. Business is all about taking risks; but not at the expense of driving the entire business into a ditch.

Contingency funds are meant for precisely the purpose they are created and must be touched only in the event of a contingency.

Finally, the law is bound to catch up sooner or later, especially with those businessmen who engage in fraud.

Someone is bound to get unlucky at some point and like DSK, Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya, become a standing example before society.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 13:37 IST