One of the few Indian players on the ground at the World Cup is a hoarding—Mahindra Satyam. (The other Indian is the latex bladder used in the official ball, Jabulani.) Mahindra Satyam is Fifa’s official infotech services provider for the 2010 and 2014 Cups and has a banner on the field for all to see.
While the firm enjoys its moment at the World Cup, someone responsible for the contract is in a less agreeable location. Ramalinga Raju, prime accused in the Rs 7,800 crore Satyam scam, is at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad trying to avoid prison and court hearings. Raju was the Satyam chairman when the Fifa deal was announced in November 2007.
“Our sponsorship recognises the sport’s universal appeal and its tradition of skill, speed, competitiveness and teamwork—attributes that reflect Satyam’s own qualities,” Raju had said then. He then applied the same virtues in less honourable pursuits.