Delhi CM says BJP frit­ter­ing away man­date & that vot­ers see no hope in GOP

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Ro­hini Singh & Ak­shay Desh­mane

New Delhi: Congress is be­com­ing re­dun­dant in na­tional pol­i­tics and is be­ing only kept alive thanks to the many mis­takes of the Bharatiya Janata Party gov­ern­ment, Delhi Chief Min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal told ET in an exclusive in­ter­view where he was se­verely crit­i­cal of the Naren­dra Modi-led saf­fron party and al­most dis­mis­sive of the So­nia-Rahul Gandhi-led Congress.

“Peo­ple don’t see hope in Congress…what­ever votes they will get will be from blun­ders by BJP…maybe BJP can pro­vide a fu­ture to Congress…oth­er­wise I don’t see a fu­ture,” Ke­jri­wal said.

In a can­did and ex­haus­tive in­ter­ac­tion with ET, Ke­jri­wal strongly cri­tiqued both the na­tional par­ties — BJP and Congress — but in­sisted he has no big­ger po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions now. He said BJP was never se­ri­ous about eco­nomic progress and that “pro­mot­ing di­vi­sive­ness” is its big­gest agenda.

“Vikas was a jumla,” Ke­jri­wal said, re­fer­ring to BJP’s general elec­tions cam­paign that was cen­tred around the mes­sage of devel­op­ment.

The devel­op­ment again un­der­scores a grow­ing trend of high­pro­file In­dian-ori­gin global bankers re­turn­ing to their roots af­ter long overseas stints to back home­grown fi­nan­cial ser­vice com­pa­nies as in­vestors or to pur­sue en­trepreneurial op­por­tu­ni­ties. Vikram Pan­dit, for­mer CEO of the world’s big­gest bank, Citi, teamed up with ace rain­maker Nimesh Kam­pani of JM Fi­nan­cial in 2013 af­ter reach­ing the pin­na­cle of pro­fes­sional suc­cess in Wall Street.

The ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Bin­dra, for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and head of Stan­dard Char­tered’s Asian op­er­a­tions, and the founders of Cen­trum Group are in the fi­nal stages and an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment could be ex­pected shortly, even as early as by the end of this week, sources said. Bin­dra may end up own­ing be­tween 20% and 26% in Cen­trum’s hold­ing com­pany. How­ever, the ex­act quan­tum of his in­vest­ment could not be in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied. Some of Bin­dra’s for­mer col­leagues at Stan­dard Char­tered are also ex­pected to join him in lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

“Talks with Bin­dra are at a very ad­vanced stage. Both sides are cur­rently en­gaged in get­ting var­i­ous ap­provals,” said one of the sources men­tioned above on con­di­tion of anonymity as the talks are in pri­vate do­main. When con­tacted, Bin­dra de­clined to com­ment. An email sent to Cen­trum Group re­mained unan­swered till the time of go­ing to press.

Launched from a 1,000 square feet space at the Bom­bay Mu­tual Build­ing in Fort in 1995 by Chandir Gid­wani and Khushrooh Byra­m­jee, Cen­trum is an in­te­grated fi­nan­cial ser­vices firm, with pres­ence in cor­po­rate finance, for­eign ex­change, wealth man­age­ment, eq­uity cap­i­tal mar­kets, debt ex­e­cu­tion, in­sti­tu­tional broking and in­vest­ment bank­ing ser­vices. Cen­trum has over 100 out­lets spread across the coun­try and more than one mil­lion re­tail cus­tomers with strong re­la­tion­ships in the mid-mar­ket cor­po­rates space. The group also has an NBFC for re­tail lend­ing and has ap­plied to Na­tional Hous­ing Board (NHB) for a li­cence to foray into hous­ing finance.

It recorded a net profit of .₹ 53 crore in the last fi­nan­cial year and a to­tal rev­enue of .₹ 4,485 crore. Cur­rently, found­ing chair­man Chandir Gid­wani and the By- aram­jee fam­ily are the prin­ci­pal share­hold­ers in the com­pany. The in­vest­ment bank­ing, eq­ui­ties, com­mod­ity and cur­rency trad­ing arm of the group, Cen­trum Cap­i­tal Lim­ited, is listed in the lo­cal ex­changes with a cur­rent mar­ket cap of .₹ 467 crore. The pro­mot­ers own 57.57% in the listed en­tity.

Bin­dra, an alumni of St Xavier’s Col­lege, Kolkata, is among a hand­ful of In­dian-born ex­ec­u­tives who have reached the highest ech­e­lons of the global fi­nan­cial in­dus­try. His peers in­clude An­shu Jain, co-chief ex­ec­u­tive of Deutsche Bank; Ajit Jain, a key lieu­tenant of leg­endary in­vestor War­ren Buf­fett at Berk­shire Hath­away; and Ajay Banga, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of MasterCard, be­sides Pan­dit.

Af­ter spend­ing 16 years with the emerg­ing mar­kets-fo­cused Bri­tish lender, Bin­dra stepped down from his po­si­tion as an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer for Asia last April fol­low­ing a ma­jor board room clearout in the wake of mas­sive losses in its In­dian op­er­a­tions and bal­loon­ing bad debts as de­clin­ing eco­nomic growth in its Asian heart­land com­bined with record reg­u­la­tory fines forced the board to suc­cumb to in­vestor pres­sure for change in the top brass.

Bin­dra pre­vi­ously was the global head of client re­la­tion­ships for Stan­dard Char­tered Bank in Sin­ga­pore, where he was re­spon­si­ble for all large cor­po­rate re­la­tion­ships. Af­ter grow­ing up in Com­mu­nist-ruled Kolkata, then Cal­cutta, in the 70’s, Bin­dra joined Bank of Amer­ica af­ter his MBA from Xavier Labour Re­la­tions In­sti­tute, Jamshed­pur, in 1984. He sub­se­quently joined UBS be­fore mov­ing to Stan­dard Char­tered in 1998 as the chief ex­ec­u­tive for In­dia, where he was cred­ited for mak­ing its In­dia unit among the largest fran­chises among all global peers by as­sets.

With 100 branches in 43 cities, In­dia is the third-largest profit and rev­enue driver for the Lon­don­head­quar­tered Stan­dard Char­tered Bank. In Jan­uary, 2010, Bin­dra was promoted as group ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the bank’s global board and was in­stru­men­tal in the lender’s merger with ANZ Grind­lays in 2001-02, which fur­ther ce­mented its po­si­tion in In­dia.

With 100 branches in 43 cities, In­dia is the third-largest profit and rev­enue driver for Stan­dard Char­tered Bank

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