Business Today

'An honest mistake'

E. Kumar Sharma        Print Edition: Nov 27, 2011

What do close friends and associates of Rajat Gupta, the former managing director of McKinsey & Co who is now facing charges in an insider trading case in the United States, think of him?

"He is a good man and I have full confidence that Rajat did not do anything wrong intentionally," says Pramath Raj Sinha, the founding dean of the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, which is seen as Gupta's brainchild.

GUPTA SPEAK

You have the right to work, but never to the fruits thereof. Not only should you do your very best, but you have to do it with your best intention.
A quote from the Bhagavad Gita with which Gupta would end his Graduation Day speech every year while he was chairman of the ISB board. He quit in March this year after his name first figured in the Raj Rajaratnamowned Galleon Group insider trading scam

If you have a truly learning mindset you will learn from everything, and in fact you learn from unexpected things.

Whatever you are doing, you should think a little bit outside its boundaries. Don't contain yourself to doing your job well or even excellently.
What he told the ISB Class of 2009 on its Graduation Day on April 4, 2009
"I admit I am biased but I do think very highly of Rajat and the impact of the good work he has done, be it in the area of public health or education."

Having known Gupta for 17 years, Sinha, the Founder and Managing Director of Delhi-based 9.9 Mediaworx, is upset over the way Gupta has been portrayed in the media.

"It is completely wrong. The media is portraying him as an evil person, one who is driven by greed," he adds.

Gupta is charged with having made calls to his friend Raj Rajaratnam, the convicted hedge fund titan, seconds after Goldman Sachs board meetings, to pass on confidential information he had access to as one of its directors. But would he not have known he was doing something wrong, which could have dire consequences?

"What may have happened was perhaps just a mistake, an honest mistake. But should this be the price to pay for a lifetime of achievements without any blemish,'' asks Sinha.

He feels US regulators are using Gupta, trying to make an example of him to send out a stern message to others in the corporate world.

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