Did a Saudi petrochemical firm manipulate the Kotler award for PM Modi to enter India?

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: January 16, 2019

The award is given by World Marketing Summit (WMS) in an arrangement with Kotler impact and Suslence, an Aligarh based firm. When a news channel reached the office of Suslence in Aligarh, there was no person or any board which indicated that the company existed there.


Modi
 
New Delhi: Details about the firm that awarded PM Modi the marketing guru award get murkier every second.
 
On 14 January 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was awarded the ‘first-ever’ Philip Kotler Presidential Award. The award is given by World Marketing Summit (WMS) in an arrangement with Kotler impact and Suslence, an Aligarh based firm. It was reported that one had to cough up Rs. 1 lakh just find themselves in the nominations.
 
However, according to the news channel, when they reached the office of Suslence in Aligarh, there was no person or any board which indicated that the company existed there.
 
“I want to congratulate our PM, on winning the world famous “Kotler Presidential Award”! In fact it's so famous it has no jury, has never been given out before & is backed by an unheard of Aligarh company. Event Partners: Patanjali & Republic TV,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted after many BJP leaders congratulated and praised PM Modi on social media.


 
Prof. Philip Kotler is a world-renowned Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Owing to ill-health, Jagdish Sheth of Emory University, Georgia, US, was deputed to confer the award.
 
India Today TV spoke with Dr. Jagdish Sheth who handed the award to PM Modi since Professor Kotler could not travel to India. He confirmed that there was no "jury" that decided on the award.
 
"There was no jury in terms of formal nominations by people. It was basically decided by Professor Kotler himself in consultation with a few people and it was so obvious in his mind that he would be the ideal person to give the award, especially given the transition the nation is making," Dr. Sheth told India Today TV over the phone.
 
The Presidential Award finds no mention on WMS's official website. "They seem to have got people from outside for this award. A separate team by Kotler was part of the selection process. I am not sure who it was," said Professor Pramod Pathak of the IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, who along with Kotler is in-charge of the selection committee for the Management Awards.
 
It gets fishier
The website of Suslence, a firm supposedly based in Aligarh, was suspended after The Wire reported about it.  
 
A man named Tauseef Zia Siddiqui was being called as the founder of Suslence Research International Institute Pvt. Ltd.
 
“India Today TV tried to look into the antecedents of this company and tried to track the company down in Aligarh. While the address exists in the list of Registrar of Companies, when our crew reached the address, there was no board or person who could tell us where the company and the phone number were wrong. The website no longer opens up. India Today TV tried to reach Siddiqui who is the founder of Suslence Research International Institute Pvt. Ltd., but received no response,” their report said.
 
Siddiqui described himself as a representative of Philip Kotler based in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He was on the award committee for WMS18’s Marketing Excellence Awards. But declined to share any details about the judging process behind the Presidential Award bestowed on Modi. “It’s a very confidential award,” he told The Wire.
 
Further investigation by The Wire revealed that both the WMS India and Suslence are the initiatives of a Saudi-based team, principally Tauseef Zia Siddiqui, whose online profile describes him as an employee of SABIC – the Saudi Arabian government-owned petrochemical firm, which has been keen to make larger inroads into India’s energy industry.
 
the Twitter handle of the World Marketing Summit India – which broke the news of Modi’s “prestigious award” on Monday – has since been deleted, raising a further question over the nature of the award for the prime minister.
 
“According to his LinkedIn profile, Tauseef Zia Siddiqui – the founder of the two companies – has been employed since January 2014 by SABIC, a major global petrochemical producer which is 70% owned by the Saudi government. His job description is “Sustainability Specialist”. He lives in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, which he confirmed in a phone conversation on Monday,” the exclusive report by Wire stated.
 
At the conference, he said that SABIC was looking into “opportunities for acquisitions” in India.
 
“Barely ten days after the India Chem conference, at the 2018 India Energy Forum, Saudi Arabia’s energy Minister Khalid-Al Falih met Prime Minister Modi and oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and publicly committed to meeting India’s rising oil demand as well to invest in its petrochemical sector,” the report said.
 
“The following month, on November 30, at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Modi met personally with crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss India’s energy security and Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities,” it added.
 
“At the India Energy Forum, Khalid-Al Falih had re-affirmed SABIC’s interest in investing in India’s petrochemicals, crude oil storage and the consumer-facing fuel retail sector. “Prime Minister Modi is making good on his promise of Achhe din… good days are here,” he said. “We see good days in India,” the report said.