Those with knowledge of the situation informed Moneycontrol that Deepak Bagla, Managing Director and CEO of Invest India, had resigned after a Ministry of Commerce audit questioned the work carried out by the organization that promotes investment.
Money control has found that Bagla was subjected to protracted interrogation during the audit, which lasted a whole year. The individuals previously mentioned claimed that the Commerce Ministry had censured Bagla and asserted that the audit had revealed no significant work had been done on the ground. Bagla and the Trade Ministry have been contacted by Money control for comments. As soon as they react, we’ll update this version.
Bagla is a frequent participant in media gatherings and was a well-known figure while pitching the India story to investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year. The spectacular India Lounge on the Davos promenade was created by a group of young professionals he assembled, and it quickly became a popular destination for Indian CEOs travelling to the Swiss capital.
Bagla frequently confused the work done by Invest India with India’s ascent to prominence as a hot favorite for foreign direct investment. Under section 25 of the Companies Act of 1956, the organization was established in 2009 to facilitate investments.
Accusations of improper behavior
Anurag Jain, Secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, who was appointed in September 2021, was not pleased that a contingent of more than 18 people travelled to Davos for the World Economic Forum meeting this year in business class, according to a senior official at Invest India. The person continued, “That’s when Invest India started getting cleaned up. The secretary was very clear that such a substantial group from Invest India wasn’t needed, but since approvals had gone in, he let the contingent travel in 2023.
At board meetings, it was brought up as to why Invest India was working on unrelated projects when it had so much to do with its primary obligations. Targets were set, according to Invest India insiders, for how many tweets they had to send each day. To keep track of the employees’ tweets, rosters were created. The daily targets ranged from 200 to 500 tweets. An insider at Invest India claims that Jain once criticized the use of “fancy charts and graphs to detract from key issues”.
A representative from Invest India claimed that when Bagla was questioned, not many success stories could be shown. “The outcome did not come close to matching the input. Meetings were called frequently to discuss everything from the tea that would be served to the menu to who we are going to pitch to and how for publicity. Rarely was it about actual work, according to the official who declined to provide his name.
Nepotism charges were also brought against Bagla. There are claims that Invest India paid greater salary to IAS officers’ offspring. I also attempted to relocate my kids there, a former officer in the trade ministry told Money control. Bagla was on an extension approved by the board when his original term ended in November 2022.
An online biography states that Bagla, a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and Saint Stephen’s College in Delhi, started his career there. With roles and responsibilities in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia, he joined the Citibank Global Corporate and Investment Banking team in 1989.