“Ranking the 10 Largest Scandals in Indian History”

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India’s Top 10 Notorious Scandals That Shook the Nation


For many years, India has been plagued by massive political and financial scandals, involving multi-million-dollar sums. These scandals, some of which remain hidden, have raised questions about what could have been achieved if this money had been used as intended. In this article, we will explore the top 10 biggest scandals that have rocked India in recent history.

1 – The 2G Spectrum Scam:

Undoubtedly, the 2G Spectrum Scam stands out as the mother of all scandals. The Supreme Court described it as surpassing all others in shamefulness. This scandal implicated former telecom minister A Raja, leading to a loss of approximately 176,000 crore to the national exchequer. It revolved around alleged irregularities in allocating wireless radio spectrum and licenses to private operators at remarkably low prices, causing massive losses.

2 – The Commonwealth Games Scam:

The Commonwealth Games hosted by India in 2010 were marred by allegations of corruption. Estimated at nearly 35,000 crore, this scandal involved payments to non-existent entities, contract delays, inflated prices, and misappropriation of funds. Suresh Kalmadi, the former chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee, faced charges and imprisonment by the CBI in April 2011.

3 – The Telgi Scam:

Abdul Karim Telgi’s name is etched in India’s memory due to his masterful forgery of duplicate stamp papers. Spanning 12 states and amounting to over 20,000 crore, this scam exposed corrupt practices within the political and bureaucratic spheres, as several government departments were found to be involved.

4 – The Satyam Scam:

The Satyam scam, amounting to 14,000 crore, remains the largest corporate fraud in India’s history. Its disgraced former chairman, Ramalinga Raju, manipulated financial records, inflating revenues and profits for years. The revelation led to a staggering Rs 10,000 crore loss in market capitalization for the company in a single day.

5 – The IPL Scam:

The IPL scandal was unique in that it was both enjoyed and celebrated by a vast number of Indians. Allegations ranged from unethical practices to illegal activities, including money laundering, match-fixing, tax evasion, and illegal betting. Lalit Modi, the creator and chairman of the IPL, was at the center of this controversy.

6 – The Bofors Scam:

The Bofors scandal became synonymous with Indian corruption. In the 1980s, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and others were accused of receiving kickbacks in a bid to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer. Swedish State Radio exposed an undercover operation by Bofors, alleging payments of $16 million to members of Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress party.

7 – The Harshad Mehta Scam:

Known as the “Big Bull,” Harshad Mehta exploited banking system loopholes in 1992, triggering a rise in the Bombay Stock Exchange. He diverted around 5,000 crore from banks to stockbrokers in a span of a year, leading to charges of 72 criminal offenses against him.

8 – The Cobbler Scam:

In 1995, the multi-crore shoes scam came to light. Sohin Daya of Dawood Shoes, Rafique Tejani of Metro Shoes, and Kishore Signapurkar of Milano Shoes were arrested for availing loans on behalf of fictitious leather co-operative societies. Various state bank officials were also implicated.

9 – The Fodder Scam:

Popularly known as “Chara Ghotala,” this scam involved a staggering 900 crore and featured Bihar politician Lalu Prasad Yadav. The scandal fabricated vast herds of fictitious livestock and claimed procurement of fodder, medicine, and animal husbandry equipment.


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10 – The Hawala Scandal:

In 1996, the Hawala scandal shocked the nation. It involved payments of $18 million to prominent politicians through hawala brokers, with accusations reaching leaders like Lal Krishna Advani. The scandal also alleged connections to Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kashmir.


In summary, these are the top 10 biggest Indian scams of all time. These scandals collectively represent an estimated total of over Rs 80 lakh crore or $1.80 trillion in the past 12 years alone, underscoring the pervasive nature of corruption in India. While India is viewed sentimentally by many as Mahatma Gandhi’s nation, it also grapples with deep-rooted unethical and illegal practices that involve politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, and more. Share your thoughts on these scandals and feel free to mention any other noteworthy scams that could be added to the list.

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