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ImageIndia has been rocked this year by a series of corruption scandals that have embarrassed the ruling Congress party, rattled markets and delayed reform bills as the opposition stalls parliament.

The country, 87th in Transparency International's rankings based on perceived levels of corruption, is no stranger to scandals.

Here are some of the biggest in the last two decades:


The case broke after a year of investigation on Nov. 24 when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested eight people, accusing them of bribery for corporate loans.

The arrests included the chief executive of state-run mortgage lender LIC Housing Finance and senior officials at state-run Central Bank of India , Punjab National Bank and Bank of India.

While the size of the scandal is not yet known, local media have reported it could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The CBI is probing 21 companies involved in India's booming infrastructure sector for links, but has not named them.

The bribes were allegedly paid by private finance firm Money Matters Financial Services , which acted as a "mediator and facilitator" for the loan beneficiaries, the CBI said.

Companies whose officials have been arrested have all denied any wrongdoing. Individuals arrested have not yet commented.

Government officials, including ministers, have said this is a case of individual wrongdoing and not a widespread scam.


Telecoms Minister Andimuthu Raja was sacked after a report by the govt auditor said his ministry sold licences and spectrum below market prices, depriving the government of up to $39 billion in revenues.

The scandal swept up as high as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had to explain to the Supreme Court why he sat on a request for permission to charge Raja with corruption.

In its report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) also said rules were flouted when the licences were given in 2007-08 which led to many ineligible firms getting them.

The CBI has launched an investigation into alleged corruption at the ministry. Nobody has been charged yet and Raja has denied any wrongdoing.

The CAG said Unitech units got licences despite having inadequate capital, Swan Telecom got a licence even though there were monopoly issues and Reliance Communications got undue benefits as it sought permission to offer services under the more popular GSM technology.

Revenue authorities have questioned Nira Radia, a top lobbyist, as part of an investigation into whether money laundering and forex laws were broken when the licences were purchased. Radia has denied any wrongdoing and has said she is cooperating with the probe.


Allegations of corruption over the international sporting event that took place in Delhi in October are being investigated by several bodies including the anti-corruption watchdog, the state auditor, the CBI and a special committee set up by Prime Minister Singh.

The Congress-party led coalition government came under fierce criticism for mismanagement and ineptitude over the sporting extravaganza which cost up to $6 billion.

Allegations of corruption spanned a broad spectrum including issuing of contracts and purchase of equipment -- from treadmills to toilet rolls.

India's anti-corruption watchdog has identified more than 16 projects with possible irregularities.

The Congress party eventually sacked Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organising committee, as secretary of the party's parliamentary wing.

Aides have been arrested and local media has said Kalmadi could be arrested once he returns back from a foreign trip.


Congress party politicians, bureaucrats and military officials have been accused of taking over land meant for building apartments for war widows. The CBI has begun investigating the case.

Local media say apartments with a value of $1.8 million were sold for as little as $130,000 each in the apartment block, which faces the Arabian Sea in one of the world's most expensive stretches of real estate in Mumbai.

The government has sacked the chief minister of western Maharashtra state, Ashok Chavan, who is a member of Congress.

The apartment block is also being investigated for several violations of norms, including environmental laws and land-use rules.

The government has now effectively taken back permissions allowing owners to occupy the apartments, which are required for water and power supplies, leading to the disconnection of these services.

2009 - SATYAM

The founder of Satyam Computer Services , one of India's top software firms, resigned in January 2009 after admitting profits were falsely inflated for years.

The fraud, estimated at $1 billion, was India's largest corporate scandal and was dubbed "India's Enron".

With clients abandoning it, shares were hammered down to near-penny-stock levels.

The government stepped in to save the firm by appointing a new board of directors and midwifed its sale to Tech Mahindra. The firm is now called Mahindra Satyam.

The founder chairman of Satyam, Ramalinga Raju, and other officials including the then chief executive officer and chief financial officer, were arrested under several charges including fraud. The cases continue in court. The defendants have said they were not involved in the fraud.


Several Indian stockbrokers were accused of siphoning off over 35 billion rupees ($778 million) of funds, mostly from inter-bank transactions, to fuel a rise in the Mumbai stock market in 1992. It involved top officers of state-run and foreign banks and financial institutions, bureaucrats and politicians.

News of the scam led to an over 40 percent fall in shares over two months, wiping millions of dollars from market value.

Harshad Mehta, the main accused, died in 2002, convicted in only one of the many cases filed against him, for misappropriation of funds in a case involving the use of money from the bank account of carmaker Maruti Suzuki for trading in stocks.

Several bank executives were convicted for fraud in allowing bank funds to be used for trading stocks.


India's purchase of artillery guns from Swedish firm Bofors in 1986 was rocked by allegations that 640 million rupees ($14.2 million) -- a huge sum then -- was paid as bribes to people close to then prime minister to swing the deal.

The scandal caused an uproar in parliament, led to a split in the ruling Congress party and the defeat of Gandhi in federal elections in 1989.

Its fallout has stymied India's defence expansion, with officials for years unwilling to take decisions on purchases that could later be probed for corruption.

Amongst the people probed were the London-based Indian business family of the Hindujas, who were later acquitted by a court of any involvement.

The case has dragged on for years without any result.