- Rajat Gupta was found guilty of insider-trading in 2012
- In an interview, he blamed prosecutor Preet Bharara for going after him
- Gupta alluded to immigrant status as possibly playing role in conviction
Rajat Gupta was once the toast of Wall Street, a real Indian-American icon admired around the world. He became the first Indian-born CEO of a multinational corporation when he was chosen Managing Director of McKinsey, the global consulting firm, in 1994. He held that prestigious position for nine years. Then came a stunning fall from grace in 2012 when he was sentenced to two years in prison by a New York Court on charges of insider-trading.
Out of jail since 2016, Gupta now tells his side of the story in his memoirs.
In an interview to NDTV, he has blamed prosecutor Preet Bharara for going after him.
"Prosecutors are all about winning. They are not necessarily searching for the truth," Gupta told NDTV, claiming he was a scapegoat.
"We had this dramatic financial crisis. It is very clear now if you look at it as to who the primary people who were responsible for that financial crisis. It was a mortgage lending-led crisis, financial institutions, banks, housing finance companies, were very involved in leveraging themselves, making loans that they should have never made, so on and so forth and practices that were quite not right. Not one of those people have been held accountable. Not a single bank CEO, senior management, has been convicted. They have been fined heavily which obviously, the share holders of the banks pay," he said.
He said the "the real perpetrators" of that financial meltdown were never brought to justice or held accountable".
"I think the prosecutors were looking for a 'we have to find something, let's go after hedge fund managers', things like that when they did not contribute to the financial crisis at all in anyway. So part of that was 'let's find this scapegoat'," Rajat Gupta said.
Preet Bharara, who is of Indian origin, was the prosecutor in Rajat Gupta's case. He had also hit the headlines several years ago after he had Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade handcuffed over charges that she committed visa fraud to bring a nanny to the US. It led to considerable diplomatic tension between India and the US.
In his book, Rajat Gupta has alluded to his immigrant status as possibly playing a role in his conviction.
But NDTV asked him why he thought so, given that Mr Bharara was also of Indian origin. "I don't know, you have to ask him what his motivations were but I can see that he would say that I am tough against anybody and I am tough against even my own people of my own origin. It could be. I don't know if that's true or not. I would say also that he was very, he is known to be very media-savvy. I write in the book, I don't know exactly how much but he certainly increased the media presence and the media staff in his own organisation," Gupta said
"He was reprimanded by the judges for trying the case in media before actually trying it in the court. This is not about Preet Bharara versus me or anything like that," he said.
Born in India, orphaned as a teen, Rajat Gupta went on to study at the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT)-Delhi, and then got a scholarship to the Harvard Business School. At the age of 45, he was the youngest head of McKinsey and then a director at Goldman Sachs.
In 2012, Rajat Gupta was convicted after a jury trial for passing confidential boardroom information to the now-jailed hedge fund manager and his one-time friend and business associate Raj Rajaratnam.