Visitors Counter


Random Quotes

No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. ~Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986


Do you think the rules/laws are applied to Fathers more stringently as compared to Mothers?

Resources & Useful links



Bookmark us With

RedditDel.icio.usGet more widgets at VivoCiti.comDiggGoogleHuggReddot@eShiok!LiveFacebookSlashdotNetscapeTechnoratiStumbleUponSpurlWistsSimpyNewsvineBlinklistFurlFarkBlogmarksYahooSmarkingNetvouzShadowsRawSugarMa.gnoliaPlugIMSquidooco.mmentsBlogMemesFeedMeLinksBlinkBitsTailranklinkaGoGo
Module is designed by

Certificate of Appreciation

Click to see PDF

Our Friends

Mynation Foundation

YouCMSAndBlog Module Generator Wizard Plugin

AllVideos Reloaded

Murthy should demand accountability from Akula PDF Print E-mail
(0 Votes)
Written by KV Ramana -   
Malini Byanna, former wife of Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance, is very scared. She feels she is under constant surveillance in India. On Sunday, she promised to give DNA an interview, but kept the venue a secret till the last minute. Every precaution was taken to ensure that there was no one tailing. DNA was told it would happen in a hotel, but the exact location was not revealed to him till the last minute. He was asked to come to a particular locality in Hyderabad. Finally, Malini met us in a small room in a hotel on Sunday afternoon. “I am being tracked. I am staying with a politician known to us, which is giving me some relief. Otherwise, I am really scared to come out,” she said. Excerpts:

NR Narayana Murthy recently asked the SKS management to be fair and open. What do you have to tell Murthy?
I applaud Murthy for the statement calling for transparency and honesty. But I would say to Murthy that Vikram Akula has a history or cover-ups, criminal behaviour and coercion. Bailing him out is only going to reinforce his bad behaviour. Once again, he’ll offer excuses for irresponsible —- in my opinion corrupt —- corporate governance. If Murthy is truly interested in SKS Microfinance and supports the poor —- while protecting the investors —- he needs to demand accountability from Akula.
Do you think people like Murthy, too, will be in trouble some day?
Akula exploits everybody from the poor to the rich, from the no-name to the big name. I believe from (Suresh) Gurumani (the sacked CEO of SKS) to the promoters and investors —- they are only a means to an end. If Vikram loses custody of our child Tejas, all these allegations against me and actions to date will be seen as fraudulent and SKS be liable. I don’t think anyone is interested in doing the right thing here —- which is releasing an innocent, voiceless and defenceless nine-year-old child to his mother.
Do you think others on the SKS board have a role to play in this?
One hundred percent. I am not accusing them, I am suggesting that they are all stakeholders in the entire episode. Many of them, even if they want to pull out their investment, can’t due to regulatory reasons. You can’t value money over human life - that, too, of a small child, who will take years to recover from all this. But my hope is that once he is restored (to me), that in itself will be a healing process. It is my hope that those who have influence over Vikram whether it is Narayana Murthy and his family members or even those having political influence over him, if they can just appeal to him to settle the matter and send the child to where he wants to go and ask him to look after SKS Microfinance —- that’s all I want. I don’t want his company or money and engage in legal battles.
What is the status of your legal battle with Akula?
There are two matters pending before the Supreme Court of India. One case was filed by Vikram challenging the habeas corpus order, which he violated. The habeas corpus order required Tejas be produced to the court for interviewing and also to be returned into my custody and care in the US. Another pending case in the Supreme Court is a special leave petition filed by me challenging the Hyderabad family court’s interim order giving Akula temporary guardianship of my son until final order is issued. The challenge for us now is to get a final hearing, which, for some reason, is being delayed month after month and year after year. This, to my understanding, is unprecedented in India. Even the international community is questioning why a child custody matter, which is typically expedited in India, has been delayed now until March 2011. The family court of Hyderabad has interviewed Tejas, where he clearly stated that given a choice he would return to his mother in the US. This was not recorded in the orders by the court. We have filed multiple applications in the Supreme Court asking the court to interview him and that has been denied. That is of great concern to me. Tejas is desperate to come home back to his mother. Now for an entire year, there has been no subsequent interview to ascertain the wishes of the child. He is also Catholic. He was baptised when he was one year old. It is written in the custody orders of the court of the State of Illinois that Tejas shall be raised a Roman Catholic. This has never been challenged by his father. Here, in his guardianship petition he was stated as a Hindu boy. He has also filed under the Hindu Marriage Act claiming that Tejas is a Hindu boy and according to the Act, after the age of five of the child, the father has superior rights. Tejas wants to continue practicing his faith. He is not being allowed to go to church. His entire itinerary, his religion, his primary relationship with his mother and all other relationships are being stripped from him. We have written to various authorities that he is being abused. We have also notified the US consulate. But, they, too, seem paralysed. That’s where things stand.
Are there any more cases pending against Akula?
There are two criminal cases pending against Vikram, his family and some members of SKS. One is a criminal trespass case against him and his parents for breaking into a home where I was temporarily residing. Another is about fraudulently securing and producing boarding passes in my and my son’s name. He had fraudulently produced Jet Airways tickets. We have been trying to investigate this matter since November last year. Nobody has done anything. I finally filed criminal cases in May. Top police officials in Shamshabad and Jubilee Hills (in Hyderabad) have been notified. Nothing has been done and police are sitting on these complaints.
These disclosures were not there in the SKS prospectus?
Actually, the initial draft red herring prospectus of SKS did not contain the criminal complaints pending against him. Being an officer of the company, Vikram should have disclosed all these cases pending against him, his staff or other agents. But, finally in they had to disclose the cases after the Sebi intervened.
What did you do to get the disclosures?
There was a full investigation. I resigned from the company. He created a hostile environment for me. I decided my son was more important than my business. But, I wanted to make sure that everything was disclosed. Unethical and fiscal irresponsibility were the key issues. After I passed out from law school, I wanted a certificate about my performance from the employer. I submitted an application to Vikram. He refused to sign it since he did not want me to get my law license. This is the man who now talks about women empowerment. After the board meeting, realising Vikram’s character, I resigned and every staff member resigned.
Apart from you, can you give an instance of someone else who had to go through all this?
One of the interns of SKS was to come to India for a two-year internship. But she, too, was threatened since she challenged him and was willing to testify on the child abduction case. The board of directors came to know about this and advised her not to go to India since she cannot protect herself in India. The board issued a warning to Vikram against threatening anyone because she reported the threat to the board. He refused to provide the documents for filing her taxes. She was holding an SKS American Express credit card. After she quit the company, Vikram charged thousands of dollars to her credit card and collectors were asking her for repayment. Vikram refused to pay that and asked her to sign a legal waiver committing not to sue him or the company for repayment. She filed an appeal with the new board. The new board had Ashish Lakhanpal and Vikram’s uncle too —- he came in to protect his nephew and the company. He actually came in after recognising my potential. I am not saying they are bad people. They came in to fix the mess and rein in Vikram. The new board signed my application too on Vikram’s behalf. They had to keep coming in to fix the mess. The intern’s case too was before them. Vikram was trying to spoil a woman’s credit record. I wrote to the board of directors about the intern’s case. Then they came and paid the bill on behalf of Vikram. The intern worked for an entire summer on a grant her mother had provided. She was going to be the international liaison. She lost her job because of hostility and danger in India.
What was the board at that time like?
Ashish Lakhanpal, Sanjeev Sidhu’s sister and others came in to bail Vikram out and cover up the wrongdoings. This has been the pattern year after year. Now, in India again, with the sacking of the CEO (Suresh Gurumani) all the corporate governance issues are coming up again. This is nothing new. A former secretary of legal affairs compliance was also sacked as he was dubbed the whistle blower. There are countless unreported cases of termination, of those silenced, since they did not have enough resources as against a multi-millionaire.
What is your focus now… your son or prosecuting Vikram?
My focus has been my son. I am not interested in being rich and famous. When he took a 4,200 square feet home in Illinois, he promised that he was quitting as the CEO of SKS and was becoming the chairman since he wanted to focus more on the family and child. He convinced Tejas and me. My biggest complaint against Vikram is he has been neglectful. He battered me in front of Tejas in my own parent’s home. He told me in March 2009 that he was moving to India since his company was going public. I was against relocating to India. He promised that he will be making the stay there worthwhile. He offered me millions. I did not know what an IPO was all about. He said he would not be able to come to see Tejas. He offered to restore all my losses since I was in significant debt. During the negotiations I realised that it was not about Tejas but about the company. He then said if I am staying in the US, he will be able to give me only a few thousand dollars. I was never concerned about money but about security and safety of myself and Tejas. At every point, I was concerned that Tejas would be kidnapped again.

Related Articles:

Powered By relatedArticle

YouCMSAndBlog Module Generator Wizard Plugin