The famous letter, which he later described as a whisteblower account, by K M Abraham has been killed and buried in one of those numerous gardens that border the corridors of power. Abraham, then a whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), had written to the Prime Minister alleging certain irregularities in the working of the regulator. The ghost of that dead letter is, however, roaming around Delhi these days. Sometimes it flirts with Arvind Kejriwal of the India Against Corruption, sometimes it gets the attention of a set of retired bureaucrats trying to get the Supreme Court’s attention on irregularities in the selection of Sebi top brass.
Last night, the ghost popped up in my dream. It said it wanted some details since I am covering the Street. What has happened to the five cases that were referred to in the letter, the ghost asked. After a long trip, I was so sleepy I was sounding sleepy even in the dream. “Which five? Why are you bothering me late in the night? Can’t we speak in the morning?” I try to reason with the creature.
“Don’t you try to fool me. You know well that I am talking about the five corporate groups that allegedly put pressure on my creator through the North Block,” the supernatural was getting worked up. If you know the answer and don’t tell me, your head will be shredded by the paper shredders in the Sebi Bhavan, it threatened. I realised this was getting dangerous and decided to play along. “Look Mr Ghost, I don’t know what exactly their present legal status is. But, I can tell you what is in the public domain.” “Tell me what you know,” the ghost became restless. See, the letter mentioned five cases, of which one is already under the direct oversight of the chief justice of India, I began. So, this one has followed the due legal process and is awaiting the verdict by the apex court.
Of the remaining, two have been decided in favour of your creator’s tormentors, I tell the letter ghost. One of these got its hands on a booty of some Rs 1,800 crore worth shares, it was previously barred from selling. The second got a permission to do something it was not allowed to after the new leadership altered the rules to facilitate this.
The ghost now wants to know about the two big boys. I get nervous as I really don’t have a clue. “Boss, there is nothing in official domain about the cases against them. There has been some rule changes. But nothing is clear. People have interpreted these changes in both ways,” I start trembling at the thought of getting caught in a rickety government sector shredder in these times of power cuts.
Thankfully, he bursts out laughing. Though it’s one of those typical ugly toothless laughs, it kind of gives me a relief.
“So, it is four-nil for the companies. Great score line. Ha ha ha. I am vindicated … vindicated posthumously,” the ghost gets ready to leave. “See you soon, kid,” he signs off. “No. I don’t want to see you again,” I plead, “Why don’t you go to the dreams of your killers and do these status checks?”
That’s when I realized even ghosts can crack poor jokes. “Haven’t you heard that killers have ‘sleepless’ nights. If they don’t sleep, how will they get to dream? And, how will I get into their dreams?” What crap? I am sure the killers would have done their basic googling. Let me first Google how to kill ghosts without losing sleep or dreams.