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'Satyam is worth documenting and should be made a case study'

July 20, 2009 12:25 IST
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Kiran KarnikThe Union government has agreed to the request of four of the six directors appointed by it on the board of Satyam Computer Services (renamed Mahindra Satyam) to be now allowed to leave. The chairman of this government-appointed team which successfully resolved corporate India's biggest fraud, Kiran Karnik, is now keen on catching up with some serious reading and writing. In a tete-a-tete with Shivani Shinde, he talks about the Satyam stint and his future agenda. Excerpts:

What was your first reaction when the government announced your name as one of the board members?

I think some of us knew that we have to be involved in this. I was not terribly surprised to know that I was part of the team.

Are you satisfied with your role and the outcome at Satyam?

I am exceedingly happy. One is the outcome and the fact that a group like Mahindra has taken over Satyam. But also that confidence has been restored in the company. More, the role the government has played is very heartening. I think there are some interesting takeaways and also on what kind of co-operation can happen between corporates and the government.

Would you say Satyam was one of the most challenging roles for you so far?

It is difficult to compare. Yes, it was one of the most challenging ones. One reason being that the stakes were too high. It is a hugely positive aspect to know and see that India handled this well. These incidents do happen and they are very sad. More than the fact that this might impact the image of the country or the IT industry, what was worrisome was the employees and the stakeholders.

In such scenarios, what matters is the ability of the system to handle this crisis. I think India would be one of the only countries where such a fraud happened but the company, at the end, is doing well. This is probably the only case that has had a positive end.

What do you plan to do now?

I want to catch up with some serious reading and writing. I hope I can give more time to some of the commitments I have made. There are interesting offers from education institutes, NGOs and government boards. I have enough already on my plate.

So, we will soon get to know you as an author?

How good or bad I don't know but, yes, there is something on those lines. I was thinking of Nasscom (National Association of Software and Service Companies, where he was the chief) as an anchor, and writing on cooperation and competition. It is one place where the industry meets and while there is enough competition, the members have been working together.

Why not a book on Satyam?

It's a good idea and I am ready to give inputs that are in the public domain. But I would not like to write it myself. I don't think it will be right. I think Satyam is worth documenting and should be made a case study, especially in the education segment. I know a couple of people who are already doing this. Moreover, apart from saying what has been done, one should look at the possibility of what can be done in this space.

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