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Tuesday 7 July 2020

Chairman of NIFT Chetan Chauhan incompetent even as businessman?

New Delhi: Apologists of the BJP-led NDA government may be defending the appointment of former cricketer Chetan Chauhan as the chairman of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) by saying that it is an administrative post where knowledge of fashion is not required, but his ability even as an admiinistrator has been questioned by an investor in his company.

We have received the following message in a WhatsApp group from this investor. We reproduce it without vouching for the authenticity of the claim.

“Chetandra Pratap Singh Chauhan has won the Lok Sabha seat from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh twice for the BJP, and so they gave him the National Institute of Fashion Technology to play with. He says he will spend 60% of his time in DDCA, 20% of his time at his business and 20% at NIFT. Chances are very high that he will try his best to run NIFT into the ground,” the WhatsApp group’s member writes.

A screenshot from the website of the company owned by Chetan Chauhan
A screenshot from the website of the company owned by Chetan Chauhan

The investor in Chauhan’s company continues, “Probably because of his clout in the area, he started a company in Amroha. I bought 2,000 shares in this business, Coral Newsprints, and he ran that business so badly that when I was finally given a number for the company by their registrars, it was probably the only phone Coral Newsprints owned, and was placed in his residence.”

The investor says further, “I didn’t know Mr Chauhan was the one who had picked up the phone (sic). I asked, a little rudely, what was going on with the company, why their shares were not being transferred, or traded in the stock market. He told me not to worry and that things would get better. So I asked him who he was, and that was the first and the last time I ever spoke to the cricketer who used to walk out with Gavaskar, in the 1970s, to open the innings for India, made his Test debut against New Zealand in Bombay, was dropped after two Tests, made an appearance against Australia later in the season, failed, and was dropped again for three years.”

“As a shareholder,” the investor says, “I was shocked to find that I had made a random phone call and had got the chairman of the company. It was the best indication the world could give you to sell the company’s shares immediately. Unfortunately, Mr Chauhan had screwed Coral so badly, the stock exchanges had banned all trade. I still have the worthless shares. Coral defines their culture as: ‘Our culture focuses not on what we do, but on how we do it. If we focus on the how, the future that we wish to attain will follow.’ I wish I had seen that before, I would never have bought those shares,” he says.

People have not liked this appointment
People have not liked this appointment

“This is one more move by Mr (Narendra) Modi (the Prime Minister) to place people as ridiculous as he is in places of importance… The rationale is sound, though scary. If you go to an airport and meet a fool at the gate admitting passengers, you will be shocked when you find a fool at the luggage X-Ray machine. You get even more irritated, however, when you find a fool at the ticket check-in counter. You begin to see the light, and when you discover the air hostess is clearly stupid, you begin to go with the flow. When the pilot makes his welcome speech, “mitron... etc”, you are almost reassured that the man is also a fool. It all makes sense. And finally, as the plane goes down and you hear screams all around you. You can smile contentedly, lean back, and sip your drink, because it just completes the picture,” says the man who has apparently had a bitter experience owning shares of Chauhan’s company.

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