The problem with the word “enigma” is that it is neuter gender. But the chimera that elopes with our imagination when we say “enigma” inescapably takes an Electra – a woman of often electrifying context.
Religare… and Dr Rashmi Saluja is a case in point.
She had walked into the boardroom of Religare – the multi-billion Indian pharma as a “no-one”, meteored her celestial orbit to become the virtual No. 1, but is now end-blazing her sparkle, accused of insider trading that seemed to have given the sweet-tooth of a Rs500 crore control of shares within the company.
So what is the brouhaha all about? Is it a Chanda Kochar (remember the ICICI chief and her cohorts in the money laundering accusations) redux? She is now cooling her heels in the gaol over the Videocon deal.
Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL), a financial services company with several subsidiaries, had been mired after the crisis triggered by the arrest of its former promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Mohan Singh in 2019.
After it got a new board and management, REL stock price went up more than 10 times since March 31, 2020 when it was at Rs 19. But nearly three years later, REL is again in the news for the wrong reasons.
Who is now crying “wolf”? And why?
The Burmans are known to be an astute business family that had their beginnings in Calcutta on 1950s making just one item: Chyawanpras, a druidic ayurvedic potion. That was in the 1960s. They have diversified much since then and are now a multi-vitamin conglomerate, if one is allowed to coin a term.
The Burman’s bid to take over Religare has been described as a ‘hostile’ one. The Mint commented that behind that hostile bid, in which the Burmans scaled down the takeover cost to Rs 235 per share, much lower than what the sell-off Religare had expected, is a larger corporate family aspiration.
It is said that Burman family’s takeover bid was aimed at plugging that one single missing piece in its corporate CV: a financials business – that would place on the same portal as Mukesh Ambani, Ajay Piramal, Sanjeev Bajaj and Kumar Mangalam Birla.
It is a corporate fantasy to start with. But why did Burmans keep timidly silent for so long after taking over from the Singh brothers after the latter had flounced at the stocks?
Why are they now crying “wolf” after internalising a “no-body” like Dr Saluja?
These are the question that we shall seek your answers and inputs, for we are not giving you the news. “Just asking”, as they say in social media terms!