ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Is Subrata Roy Merely a Scapegoat?

Subrata Roy exemplifies the state's deficient regulation of finance capital in our neo-liberal economy. His recent imprisonment works to avoid some fundamental questions about the culpability of the state, and its failure to control capitalism through liberal-democracy. In the fallout of this case, Roy may well be a mere scapegoat of the larger ailment of financial speculation itself.

I would like to thank the anonymous referee of this article for comments on an earlier draft.

On 26 March 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered Subrata Roy to submit Rs 10,000 crore as a condition for securing bail from Tihar Jail, where he has been lodged for almost a year now. The bail amount, the largest in India’s history, was supposed to be raised by a US-based entity called “Mirach Capital,” with Bank of America (BoA) being the banker to this transaction. The BoA, however, has issued a public statement refuting any claims of it being associated with the said transaction. Both Mirach Capital and Sahara Group have warned each other of legal action following this suit.

In spite of all the drama that continues to unfold before us, with the imprisoned Subrata Roy being the main lead, a modest debate over how the state tries to “regulate” the functioning of finance capital should have been forthcoming. Subrata Roy’s incarceration is a textbook case of how the state can term an enterprise “illegal” on its own terms, and put the entire affairs of the enterprise, and all those who depend on it for livelihood, in jeopardy. The story of how Sahara moved, or rather gambled ahead in its business life is evidence enough of the state’s own inconsistencies or lack of a clear agenda as to how capital is to be managed, or regulated. The way Roy is being targeted in the media makes him appear as if he is just one “rotten apple” in an otherwise clean bunch. However, this sort of targeting is manifestly evasive as his conduct is not a problem in itself; it is rather its symptom.

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