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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rajat Gupta-Plummet from the Pinnacle

File:Rajat Kumar Gupta - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010 crop.jpg
Photograph courtesy Wikipedia 
 Rajat Gupta:
Erstwhile Managing Director, Mckinsey & Company Rajat Gupta served as Corporate Chairman, Board Director or Strategic Adviser to a variety of large and notable organizations: Goldman Sachs, Proctor & Gamble, American Airlines and also non profit organizations like Gates Foundation, Global Fund & International Chamber of Commerce.Rajat Gupta is additionally the co-founder of  four different organizations: the Indian School of Business (1997), the American Foundation, New Silk Route & Scandent Solutions.
Gupta hails from Kolkata and his parents moved to Delhi when Gupta was five.Gupta's father died when he was sixteen and his mother two years later.He was a product of the Modern school Delhi. Rajat completed his Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology,Delhi in 1971. He declined a prestigious job offer from ITC Limited and went on to join Harvard Business school from where he received his MBA and was named a Baker Scholar. Gupta joined McKinsey & Company in 1973 as one of the earliest Indian Americans at the consultancy. Elected senior partner in 1984, he became head of the Chicago office in 1990. In 1994 he was elected the firm's first managing director (chief executive) born outside of the US, and re-elected twice in 1997 and 2000. In this capacity, he was considered the first Indian-born CEO of a multinational organization.
Rajat was a founding Board member of the World Economic Forum, a Board member and Executive Committee member of the US-India Business Council, and member of the Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.  
Gupta was also appointed as special adviser on management reform to UN Secy General Kofi Annan .He additionally served on the UN Commission on the Private Sector and Development and was co-chairman of the United Nations Association of America.
In addition, Gupta was a trustee on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation and was elected in 2009 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.(Above information drawn from Wikipedia)
Indicted: Rajat has recently been indicted by a jury in a US Court on charges of insider trading,conspiracy and securities fraud. He can face jail term of up to 20 years. Final judgement will be issued in October 2012. 
My thoughts: Rajat Gupta rise has been meteoric and he had become the most successful Indian Americans in US Corporate circles. He had become very powerful and influential was often seen in the company of the rich, powerful and mighty.
Rajat was always a perfectionist. He was methodical and well organized. He was a man of character and impeccable integrity. He richly deserved his success and the accolades and the awards that he received over the years.He was recognized as the Pravasi Indian of the Year some years ago. He also appeared in a "Walk the Talk" show with Sekhar Gupta of the Indian Express in the same year. Rajat has done India and Indians proud both in India and abroad. He was truly a Global Indian.
Gupta's recent fall from grace has been as sudden as his rise has been meteoric. What actually went wrong ? Are the insider trading charges really true? Yes he has been convicted but the evidence is purely circumstantial. But is Gupta really guilty ? Has there been a bias against Gupta due to his stupendous success in America and many forces have joined hands conspired against him ? Was the jury who convicted Gupta totally unbiased? Was Preet Bharara another Indian American and Manhattan U.S Attorney, who tracked Gupta closely with the intent of getting him convicted, jealous of the status, power and influence that Gupta wielded ? Or did Gupta actually commit an indiscreet act in a moment of weakness to help his friend Rajaratnam ? Had Gupta become careless and felt he could get away with such acts and the law could never touch him because of his high connections.?
I am sure that Gupta will appeal to the Supreme Court and a big battle is on the cards. I am sure truth will finally prevail. If Gupta is guilty of fraud he should be convicted. But this should be based on conclusive proof not circumstantial evidence.The selection of jury is also very important.They must  be persons with proven character and integrity. Their decision must be totally unbiased. If not guilty he should walk free. Satyameva Jayate.(Truth alone will prevail!)
Why this post is devoted to Rajat Gupta? 
Because I have known him personally for 41 years. I and Rajat were together at IIT Delhi in the same class of Mechanical Engineering for 5 years. Rajat is married to Anita Mattoo another fellow IITian (Electrical Engineering) two years his junior and hailing from Kashmir. Gupta has four wonderful daughters: Geetanjali , Megha, Aditi and Deepali. The Gupta family that I know is a wonderful and warm family and the Rajat that I know is an honest man with impeccable manners and having the highest regard for integrity.My heart goes out to him and his family.

19 comments:

  1. I understand your predicament or let me rephrase it , your high regard for a successful friend.
    However now going by the indictment, he was found guilty. Whether circumstantial evidences alone would suffice for conviction is a matter pertaining to jurisprudence of that country ( the USA).

    And it is here another aspect falls in line. There has been quite a few high profile indictments and sentences in the USA in recent memory. All were excellent technocrats with astonishing academic backgrounds. What points here is that perhaps there are certain things that may be taught or not taught in Business schools like Harvard ie to distance oneself from avarice and greed.

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  2. Sometimes very credible men get led astray in the corridors of power...the power and the pressure to stay in power in these high corporate circles are monumental and cannot be understood by common folk...Let truth prevail.

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  3. For us it is news I can see why it is different for you.

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  4. Please read these posts on Gupta trial.

    http://mindbodypolitic.com/2012/06/15/rajat-gupta-trial-the-jury-is-wrong-continued/

    It is all circumstantial, the defense was not allowed to present its case, there were at least 4 or 5 proved tipsters at Goldman.

    Bharara is just another career mad prosecutor.

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  5. That's sad news for your friend and his family. I hope his appeal is successful and he will be a free man.

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  6. I wish that he comes out unscathed after his appeal in the highest court if he had done nothing wrong.From your account he comes out as a man of character.
    What is striking is that the American justice moves fast and is no respecter of status unlike in Our country where it is lethargic and the guilty most often escape the deserved punishment due to long delay

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  7. thanks for putting a personal spin on a headline.

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  8. Hum, I have nothing I can say, sorry.

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  9. As some have said, It is hard to say what happened. But then it is hard to say what happened at the time of Big Bang either!. What I want to say is, what happened to the jurisprudence called 'benefit of doubt'? Unless they have conclusively proved that he is guilty, I do smell a school of fish!

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  10. My friend Ram,
    Interesting post. We are all mortal and imperfect. Any man can fall from where he sits. Power and fame will always be defeated by death one day.

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  11. everyone convicted is related to somebody..someone's friend, son , husband or father, but that nevr deters them from cheating..greed overpowers all their virtues....

    I have no sympathy for such people who inspite of having so much, still swindle the money..

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  12. I don't have much to say about your friend, but I like the way you defend him. And you believe in Satyameva Jayate!

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  13. I echo Andy David's sentiments. Thank you for sharing, and I admire your courage and your support for your friend.

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  14. You are what's called " a friend in need is a friend indeed", and I greatly appreciate you for that.
    Hope your friend Rajat Gupta's appeal will get him 'not guilty'.

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  15. Unfortunately he is not fighting his case in India.

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  16. It is sad to hear the downfall of such a person.

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  17. Every modern man has a multidimensional personality. He is one thing to a his family and friends, another thing to his professional circles, yet another thing to his employees and could be yet antoher thing to he wider world.


    The common principle that most people choose as a modus operandi in the wider world is - if I do not know the other person and when I do not have to know the consequences of my actions to other people, I will optimize my personal gain.

    "Do not do in private what you are afraid to do in public" was a piece of advice given to a groups of 250 fresh students by on ex IITM director. Few people ever live by that dictum. Big businesses are all about maximizing short term gain for owners and beneficiaries. Capitalism demands greed and secrecy as its fundamendtal prerequisites. While Mr Gupta might have been expected to be righteous in his relations with his clients, the collective capitalistic enterprise is all about maximizing profits - laws only serve to keep market competitors in check and balance, but have a lesser role when it comes to defending the 99% from the 1%.

    Somewhere Mr Gupta has applied the principles he serves his clients with to his own personal growth and got things mixed up.

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