Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Andimithu Raja

Highs: Raja came into 2010 as India's Minister of Telecommunications, a high-profile and influential position earlier awarded to him by India's Congress Party-led government because the 47-year-old belonged to a party that was a key Congress ally. Ministerial berths in India's cabinet are mostly seen as chips for political horse-trading in the world's biggest democracy, not positions to be filled by those most capable of fulfilling the task at hand.

Lows: On Nov. 14, Raja resigns his post after he is implicated in the largest political corruption scandal in India's history. As Telecom Minister presiding over one of the world's fastest growing cell phone markets, Raja's ministry allegedly underpriced bandwidth licenses to private companies, leading to a loss of as much as $40 billion in government revenue, according to a report by the government's auditor general. Raja denies receiving any bribes, but the scandal has plunged New Delhi into crisis and raised renewed questions over the ability of India's chaotic democracy to justly manage the country's booming growth.

Ishaan Tharoor