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Top 10 Biggest Indian Scams in the history

By Akanksha - March 19, 2024 05:38 PM

We have all been witnesses to massive financial and political scams and frauds in our nation involving money that amounts to millions of dollars for several years now. And these are only the ones that have come to light; let's not even discuss the ones that have not yet been discovered. With so much money at its disposal, it begs the question of whether India would still be in the developing world if it had been used for the intended purposes.

Top 10 Biggest Indian Scams in the history

The TOP 10 largest frauds that have recently afflicted our nation are listed here.


This is THE mother of all frauds; there is nothing more that can be stated. The spectrum swindle, according to the Supreme Court, has 'put all other scams to shame.' Following the CAG's indictment of A Raja, the former minister of telecoms, in the 2G spectrum fraud that cost the national exchequer over 176,000 core, Raja was forced to quit. The issue centres on the telecom ministry's purported irregularities in granting wireless radio spectrum and licenses to commercial operators, some of whom were not qualified. There was a massive loss to the public coffers as a result of licenses being granted and spectrum allocated at a remarkably cheap cost (2001 rates in 2008).


Of course, how could the con artists have missed the well-reported and much-awaited 2010 Common Wealth Games held in India? The magnificent event was mired in corruption rumours even before the eagerly anticipated athletic extravaganza could take place. The fraud, whose estimated total value was close to 35,000 crores, included anomalies such as payments to nonexistent parties, deliberate contract execution delays, exorbitant prices, careless tendering practices, and money embezzlement. In April 2011, the CBI prosecuted and imprisoned the accused, who was the former head of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi.


The government was allegedly involved in the 'Coalgate' incident, making it one of the largest frauds in India. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India reported that from 2004 to 2009, the then-UPA administration was implicated in the ineffective and perhaps unlawful distribution of coal blocks. The government assigned 70 coal blocks in total throughout the 1993–2003 amendment of the criteria. The government could have auctioned off these coal mines, but CAG said that it chose not to do so, allowing allocatees to profit from 'windfall gains.' According to the CAG report, the exchequer's loss was initially expected to be a staggering 10.78 lakh crores, but it ultimately settled at 1.86 lakh crore. It was claimed that the coal blocks had been unfairly distributed by favouring some groups and people over others and eschewing the traditional 'competitive bidding' procedure.


With a total fraud of 14,000 crore, the Satyam scandal is the largest in the history of the Indian corporate sector. Ramalinga Raju, the disgraced former chairman, is charged with manipulating the books of accounts for several years and inflating Satyam's earnings and revenue statistics. Following the failure of his attempt to replace the 'fictitious assets with real ones' through Maytas' acquisition, he decided to confess to the crime. The fourth-biggest IT business in India saw its market capitalization plummet by an astounding Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) as investors reacted angrily and ditched shares, driving the share price down 78% to Rs 39.95 on the Bombay Stock Exchange in a single day.


Never before has such a large segment of the Indian population enjoyed and praised a swindle. Many of the IPL's operations have been accused of being immoral, illegal, and occasionally unethical. It is alleged that politicians and other individuals are using tax havens like Mauritius to launder illicit funds, concealing the identity of investors with fictitious names and shell businesses. There have been allegations of manipulated games and club franchise bids, as well as of bribery, tax fraud, unlawful betting, and violations of international investment regulations. Lalit Modi, the founder and chairman of the Indian Premier League and a former vice president of the highly politicized Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was at the centre of both the growth and the scandal.

6. PNB BANK FRAUD- Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi is a third-generation diamantaire who was born and raised in Antwerp, the 'diamond capital of the world.' In 2017, he was listed as 57th on the Forbes Billionaire List. A well-known businessman with several political ties, he is charged with defrauding his uncle Mehul Choksi out of ₹14,000 crores. A PNB official brought a complaint against three individuals in 2018 for presenting fictitious documents and abusing their lack of accountability. Nirav was able to get 1,212 more fake guarantees throughout the following 6.5 years after he was given his first one in March 2011. When the ED took control, a lot more information surfaced, and in December 2019, the government designated Nirav as a 'fugitive economic offender,' which prompted him to depart for the UK.


The 'King of Good Times,' Vijay Mallya, served as chairman of Kingfisher Airlines' parent business, UB Group. Before a loan fraud lawsuit completely ended his entrepreneurial career, Mallya was a flamboyant and colourful figure who had enormous popularity.

Through his connections inside the UPA administration, he obtained loans from 17 different banks totalling ₹9000 crores. Kingfisher Airlines ran out of money by 2012 and ceased operations. In 2016, Mallya absconded to the UK and refused to repay the debt. The sale of Mallya's assets has helped recover a large portion of the money, but the Indian government is still working to extradite him from the UK.


Known as the 'Big Bull,' Harshad Mehta exploited gaps in the banking system to drive up the value of shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1992 by buying and selling them at a premium in several different market areas. Between April 1991 and May 1992, he and his friends stole around Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) from banks and gave it to stockbrokers. Later on, he was accused of 72 crimes.


Known by most as the 'Chara Ghotala,' this massive swindle involving the notorious and enduringly popular Bihar politician Lalu Prasad Yadav was worth an astounding 900 core. The fraud consisted of creating 'vast herds of fictitious livestock' for which supplies of food, medication, and equipment for animal husbandry were purportedly purchased.


Another bribery incident that made headlines was reported in 1996. It involves payments made through hawala brokers totalling $18 million to the nation's top lawmakers. Lal Krishna Advani, the opposition leader at the time, was among the accused. The accusation that all of the main political figures had taken bribes and had ties to those who were funnelling money to terrorists in Kashmir belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen startled the population.

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About the Author:

Akanksha Sinha

I'm Akanksha Sinha, an expert in writing sports blogs, news, and various articles for entertainment and more. I bring a unique flair to my work, providing insightful perspectives on the world of sports.

My articles aim to inform and entertain, making me a go-to source for sports enthusiasts seeking a blend of information and enjoyment. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail, I consistently deliver compelling narratives that resonate with a diverse audience.