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Rajat Gupta is innocent: ISB founding Dean Pramath Raj Sinha

ISB founding Dean Pramath Sinha says that it is unfortunate that former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta got associated with somebody like Raj Rajaratnam.

twitter-logo E Kumar Sharma        Last Updated: October 25, 2012  | 02:04 IST

"I still believe that Rajat Gupta is innocent. There is an alternative scenario which will explain what he did," says Pramath Raj Sinha, the first Dean of Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. That alternative scenario, he feels, was not taken into account.

Gupta , a former McKinsey & Company Managing Director, was closely associated with ISB for over a decade, and many see it as his brainchild. He resigned from the B-school's board in March 2011 after being brought up on insider trading charges in the United States. Gupta was found guilty of passing confidential information on investment bank Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the hedge fund management firm, Galleon Group. Rajaratnam is currently in a US federal prison. His conversations with Gupta were intercepted through wiretaps by federal agencies.

FULL COVERAGE: Rajat Gupta trial

US district judge Jed Rakoff will pass sentence on Gupta on Wednesday.

Sinha still feels the context of the conversations between the duo was not presented or not understood and could very well be explained in a totally different way. "I have reservations in terms of how the facts and circumstances were presented before the jury. I think the whole case is based on circumstantial evidence and I can paint an alternative narrative as to why things happened the way they did."

The former ISB Dean, who has known Gupta for many years, is one of his staunchest defenders. "It is unfortunate that Rajat got associated with somebody like Rajaratnam, who was involved in insider trading," he says. "Rajat just got caught in the backwash of Rajaratnam's problems."

Sinha is currently in New York, where the sentence will be passed. "Let us see what the judge does. If you look at the number of people who have written (to the judge) in favour of Rajat, vouched for him and pleaded for leniency, it shows how improbable it is that a man like him could have done anything like this," insists Sinha.

What the prosecution is seeking (10 years jail time), he adds, is not only something that he does not deserve but also ridiculous. That is where the judge, he feels, would have to exercise his judgement. "If you have seen some of the press reports that have been coming out, it is not as if the judge is without compassion or does not understand the need to look at the whole contribution of a person. Rajat's whole life should be taken into context before sentencing him."

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