I feel I have been wronged: Rajat Gupta

Last Updated 25 March 2019, 14:00 IST

India-born former managing director of management consultancy firm McKinsey, Rajat Gupta, who spent 19 months in prison on insider trading conviction, feels he has been "wronged" but that it was his "destiny" to go to prison.

Gupta, 70, now looks back at the tough years as time of "learning and reflection".

"I am not angry. As I write in the book, I feel I have been wronged,” Gupta told PTI in an interview here.

Gupta has penned his memoir 'Mind Without Fear', which tells of his dramatic rise to the top of the corporate world in America and then his fall after being charged in 2012 in one of the largest insider trading cases in the US.

He says he feels the real culprits of the financial crisis were not held accountable and the prosecutors went after him.

"I clearly understand some of the reasons why, (it) explains the underbelly of the justice system and its misaligned incentives for various players in it. The result is that unfortunately they could not get any of the real culprits of the financial crisis but landed on someone like me which doesn’t make any sense to me but that was the result,” he said.

He emphasizes that during the financial crisis, the only thing that was done was that the banks were fined billions of dollars after they admitted wrongdoing.

"There was clearly bad procedures, even fraud. They did it only at the institutional level. Human beings work in these places. Somebody did the fraud, somebody did the bad things," he said.

He added that the institutions don't do wrong automatically "so wouldn’t that been the first priority to find the culprits who did it. The average person in America suffered a lot, they lost their pensions, they lost their jobs, there was a huge uncertainty. There was a huge price to be paid by the average American and nobody was held accountable."

Gupta, a former director of Goldman Sachs, says that “overall” he feels that "perhaps it was my destiny to go to prison, just the sign of the times, the circumstances and when it was prosecuted, the mood of the country and so on."

He stresses that through all the years since his conviction on insider trading, he has "fought hard" to correct the wrong every step of the way.

"And that is the philosophy of the Karmayoga and the Bhagwat Gita. You just do the right thing and you do it with the right intentions and you don't worry about the outcomes. I lost every battle but in many ways I feel very good that I fought,” he said.

Gupta looks back at the years since his insider trading conviction "as tremendous years of learning and reflection" and says he has become in many ways a better person. "I don't hold any sense of bitterness with anybody. I have forgiven everybody. I feel quite at peace with myself,” he said.

He will be discussing his book on Thursday at a book launch event organized by the Indo-American Arta Council (IAAC).

In January this year, Gupta had suffered a setback when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his bid to throw out his 2012 insider-trading conviction, affirming a lower court’s ruling in the case.

Gupta had been arguing that he served time in jail for conduct that is not criminal even though the government lacked evidence to show he "received even a penny" for passing confidential boardroom information to now jailed hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

(Published 25 March 2019, 13:57 IST)

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