Former director of Goldman Sachs and disgraced Wall Street tycoon Rajat Gupta has been awarded two year's imprisonment and a fine of $5 million as a punishment in the case of insider trading. Gupta was accused of leaking secret informations related to board meetings to his billionaire friend Rajaratnam, who was also a founder of a hedge fund. Rajaratnam is already serving a sentence of 11 years.
While reacting to the punishment awarded to Rajat Gupta, former Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru
University and an economist B.B. Bhattacharya said that Gupta's case is an example of fall from grace in greed.
“Had he not been the director of Goldman Sachs, Rajat Gupta would have lived happily with 100 million plus asset, going around the world
as a respected management guru. Becoming the director of Goldman Sachs in the midst of billionaires (other members), he started comparing himself in monetary terms loosing all his lifetime respect, credit, knowledge. He got tempted to become a billionaire, Rajaratnam began tempting him that he will make him billionaire. Harsher punishment of 2 years, or 3 years is less important to me. It is the fall from the grace because of greed, for me that is the bigger lesson for the mankind,” B.B. Bhattacharya, economist and former V-C, JNU.
Bhattacharya does not consider the two year punishment to the Gupta as a harsher one given the history of America in punishing others in similar cases with much higher term sentences.
“Considering the fact that they have given others much harsher punishment...US generally, once they catch you then they don't spare you. I know it from earlier cases in the US. The US is not like India. In Rajat Gupta's case they were expecting much harsher punishment like 10 years. So two years to me means that they have considered his background and his good career before,” added Bhattacharya.
After the court pronounced the sentence, Rajat Gupta in a statement said that the last 18 months had been the most challenging period of his life since he lost his parents as a teenager. He said he regret terribly the impact of this matter on his family, friends and the institutions dear to him. Gupta while terming the verdict as devastating said that he has lost his reputation built for a lifetime as reported by DNA.
This high profile case has caught worldwide attention as honchos like Microsoft
founder Bill Gates and former UN chief Kofi Annan had requested leniency for Gupta.
While the prosecution has demanded a sentence of 8-10 years, Gupta's lawyers have demanded leniency and has offered community service to be done by him at Rwanda, where he can work with the local government on health care and agricultural initiatives. The second offer of community service made by Gupta's lawyer was that Gupta could work with Covenant House's New York site, which provides emergency shelter and other services for homeless, runaway and at risk youth.
President of the India
based private think-tank RPG Foundation, DH Pai Panandiker said that the two years punishment combined with the fine of $5 million USD is little too harsh. He said that the punishment should had been reduced in lieu of the community service, which Gupta had applied for.
“Two years combined with $5 million dollars fine appears to be too harsh. I think repentance is there. I think in lieu of the community service whatever sentence has been given the should had been reduced,” DH Pai Panandiker, President, RPG Foundation.
Panandiker said that Gupta's case is a personal case and there will be no impact either on the India Inc. or the country itself.
“This is a very personal case. It has nothing to do with the country. He has apparently misused his position. Having achieved that kind of prominence, why he went for that, I don't know. An offence had been committed, so naturally punishment will be there,” added Panandiker.