Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs Group director, was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to two years in prison. Usually, a case convicting someone of leaking corporate secrets and gaining an illegal, unfair advantage, would be one of triumph. However, in the case of Mr. Gupta, it was an unfortunate reality.
Mr. Gupta’s rise to success from modest beginnings in India had been an example of unrelenting hard-work and fierce determination. When he was a teenager, he lost both his parents- his father, a follower of Gandhi, was jailed in the fight for independence from the British and died in prison of tuberculosis; his mother, a schoolteacher, died two year after. Despite this tragedy, Gupta continued his schoolwork, was accepted to and excelled in India’s most prestigious school - Indian Institute of Technology. From there, he rejected what was then considered a highly respected position from Indian Tobacco Company and, instead, decided to attend Harvard Business School. His intelligence was soon recognized within and around the school, and Gupta was able to secure a job with McKinsey. Even there, he rose through the ranks quickly and became (at the age of 45) the first Indian-born chief of a U.S. international corporation. He continued the good-will and spirit of his parents by working to create leadership roles at the Indian American Foundation, and by serving as the chairman of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and many other charitable organizations.
In fact, Judge Rakoff, who delivered Gupta's sentencing, had received hundreds of letters from people such as Bill Gates, Deepak Chopra and former U.N. leader Kofi Annan, speaking of his immense contribution to philanthropic causes and stating that he deserved leniency. Acknowledging these appeals, Judge Rakoff stated, "But the history of this country and the world, I'm afraid, is full of examples of good men who do bad things".
So why did Gupta, despite having a prosperous, highly-respected life and career, commit such an act? Many claim it was due to the influence of former Galleon Group chief Raj Rajaratnam and the Wall Street Journal reasoned that it might be because Mr. Gupta was just looking for an exciting, challenging opportunity to head the Galleon Group. Whatever the case might be, Mr. Gupta’s conviction was definitely seen as “a fall from grace of Greek tragedy proportions” .
Written by Ritika Gawande
Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajat_Gupta