How Subhash Chandra made his fortune

In his biography The Z Factor, television mogul Subhash Chandra has been extraordinarily candid about his past.

He acknowledges what was long suspected: that he profiteered enormously from dubious rice deals with the Soviets in the early 1980s. He was awarded a lucrative contract to export basmati to Russia, on the understanding that he would share 50 per cent of his profit with his benefactors in the Congress party.

Chandra confesses that it was Rajiv Gandhi who steered the deal his way through his aide Vijay Dhar. Chandra writes that he deposited half the share of profits, first with Dhirendra Brahmachari, then with Sitaram Kesri and finally with Arun Nehru.

An interesting sidelight to the story is that while the Soviets were paying for expensive basmati rice, Goyal cut corners by mixing basmati with the cheaper ‘parmal’ variety. The Russians, unfamiliar with the various grades of Indian rice, assumed that he was cheating them since their long-standing rice supplier, Tulsi Tanna, had only been supplying parmal and they thought parmal was the better quality rice. Chandra did not argue with the Russians, but made even bigger profits by exporting only parmal henceforth. – from Indian Express 

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