PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Nationwide breastbeating has just begun over the arrest of Nadeem Kashmiri, a Bangalore BPO worker, for allegedly being part of a racket that ripped off close to Rs 1.8 crore from HSBC clients. Coming on the heels of scams built around Karan Bahree (Infinity e-search) and Samuel Thomas (Mphasis-Citibank), there are now questions galore on the inadequacy of our cyber laws, the data protection mechanisms, the future of BPO if this keeps on happening, etc.

Things like these happen in other countries, too, if only to prove that human beings are after all human with their own moral and ethical frailties. But the key question is: Is India the unrivalled global capital of cads, crooks, cheats and the corrupt?

An extraordinarily rotten society of venal scamsters, individual and institutional, willing to do anything, everything, for a few rupees more?

Look at the pantheon of people caught with their hand in the till in the recent past: Actors, bankmen, bureaucrats, businessmen, constables, cricketers, culture czars, customs officials, defencemen, electricity linemen, engineers, excise officials, foreign service officers, government clerks, income-tax officials, industrialists, journalists, ministers, phone linemen, police officers, politicians, professors, software tycoons…

Of course, there are honourable exceptions. but….

It’s a heart-breaking question to ask, but is it—corruption, crookedness, cheating—in our genes? Does any other country in the solar system match this kind of mind-numbing, bottomless desire, across the board, to loot and scoot?