The Biggest Scams In India: A List Of 10 Scams That Will Blow Everyone’s Mind

Business APAC
6 min readOct 19, 2021

If we discuss about the biggest scams in India, a long list will come up in your mind. The increasing amount of scams and frauds, over the years, has been humiliating for the country. They have not only deprived the country of its money but also pushed it down a path of declining political and social health. Whether it was a global embarrassment at the Commonwealth Games or a national outcry over the 2G scam, the dishonest behavior of a few has left the country hapless.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), corruption costs the world up to $2 trillion. That is a substantial amount of money–two percent of global GDP. On December 9, the United Nations commemorated International Anti-Corruption Day, recognizing the urgent need to eradicate corruption and promote global unity and stronger ties. ‘United against corruption for prosperity, peace, and security was the key subject. As countries around the world reassert their commitment to fighting corruption.

1. BOFORS Scandal — Rs. 64 Crore

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Bofors scandal involved a huge weapons-contracting political controversy between India and Sweden. This scandal was started by Indian National Congress leaders and implicated the Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. Bofors AB is also suspected of receiving kickbacks to members of the Indian and Swedish governments. In 1986, India reportedly secured a deal worth approximately Rs 1437 crore with the Swedish armaments firm Bofors AB to deliver their 155mm field howitzer to the Indian Army.

2. Fodder Scam — RS. 950 Crore

The Fodder Scam was a corruption scandal in the eastern Indian state of Bihar that involved the loss of nearly $9.4 billion from the government treasury. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the then-Chief Minister of Bihar, and Jagannath Mishra, the former Chief Minister, were among those detained in connection with the heist. Lalu’s tenure as Chief Minister came to an end as a result of the controversy. S. N. Sinha is also accused of paying Dr. Dineshwar Prasad Sharma Rs. 300.60 crores. A special CBI court convicted Lalu Prasad Yadav on December 23, 2017, while acquitting Jagannath Misra.

3. Harshad Mehta & Ketan Parekh Stock Market Scam — Rs. 5000 crores

Harshad Mehta borrowed a substantial amount of money from the banking system and used it to build a large fund for himself by creating authentic-looking fraudulent bank receipts. Many banks lent him large sums of money, claiming that they were doing so in exchange for government securities. Ketan Parekh pulled off a similar heist, stealing $30 million from the Bank of India.

4. Vijay Mallya Scam — Rs. 9000 Crore

The Vijay Mallya scam is one of the biggest bank scams in India. After being accused of fraud and money laundering in India, Mallya escaped and sought sanctuary in the United Kingdom in 2016. A collection of 17 Indian banks is attempting to collect roughly $90 billion (US $1.3 billion) in loans. Mallya is accused of using it to gain 100% or partial ownership of more than 40 companies around the world. Many organizations, including the Internal Revenue Service and the CBI, are investigating Mallya for financial fraud and money laundering.

5. Commonwealth Games Scam — Rs. 70,000 crores

In 2010, the Commonwealth Events held in India attracted more attention due to the controversies and corruption than the games itself. The entire event was tainted with allegations of criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery, and the chairman of the 2010 Common Wealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi, was accused of corruption and malpractices. It was also reported that the Indian athletes were compelled to reside in deplorable conditions rather than the accommodations provided by the government.

6. Nirav Modi PNB Bank fraud — Rs. 11,400 Crore

The Nirav Modi scandal is India’s another one of the biggest scams in India. According to reports, the fraud was perpetrated under the Brady House brand of Punjab National Bank. This scam implicated not only Nirav Modi, but also his uncle Mehul Choksi and two senior PNB officials. PNB filed a case with the CBI in 2018 accusing Nirav Modi and his firms of getting Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) from PNB without paying the margin amount due on loans. This meant that if those companies defaulted on the loan, PNB would be responsible for the repayment.

7. 2G Spectrum Scam — Rs. 1,76,000 crores

In 2008, the government came under investigation when it was alleged that they had undercharged mobile phone companies for frequency allocation licenses. The licenses were used to generate 2G spectrum subscriptions. At the center of this scandal was the former Telecom Minister A. Raja. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) noted that “the disparity between the money obtained and that mandated to be collected was Rs. 1.76 trillion.” (1,76,000 crore rupees) The Supreme Court declared the spectrum “unconstitutional and arbitrary” in 2012, resulting in the termination of over 120 licenses.

8. Hawala Scam — 1, 31,000 Crores

The Hawala scam erupted in the 1990s, drawing attention to politicians such as LK Advani, Arjun Singh, Yeshwant Sinha, Madan Lal Khurana, and others who were accused of bribery. The Hawala brothers, also known as the Jain brothers, were suspected of being involved in a terrorist raid. It was discovered that these lawmakers made transfers of alleged black money through their brothers.

9. Coalgate Scam — Rs. 1.86 lakh Crore

The coal allocation scam, sometimes known as “Coalgate,” is a political scandal that began in 2012, when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power. When the government was accused of fraudulently assigning 194 coal blocks between 2004 and 2009, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) brought the scandal to light. As several bureaucrats and politicians were engaged, this was one of the scams that shook the entire country to its core. Despite the CAG’s initial prediction of a loss of more than Rs 10 lakh crore, the final audit stated that the scam cost Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

10. Black Money Scam — Rs. 72,80,000 Crore

The Black money scam is also known as the “black dollar scam” or the “wash wash scam.” It is a deception where con artists try to defraud a victim by convincing them that piles of banknote-sized paper are the genuine currency that has been stained in a theft. The victim is convinced to pay fees and purchase chemicals to remove the color, with the promise of a portion of the revenues.

The Verdict So, this concludes the list of the 10 biggest scams in India. Not only India, several but countries around the world have fallen victim to these fraudulent activities that have maligned their image on the international circuit. However, we can see a ray of hope as many countries are adapting stricter rules and regulations to prevent such instances. We hope to see their efforts come to fruition!

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