Harshad Mehta Success Story
“There’s this theory about the next fool around the corner,” says G.V. Ramakrishna. “But we may not have an inexhaustible supply of fools, the men who are left holding the can when there’s nobody at all to pay a higher price.”
As the rapidly breaking scandal in the finance markets and the share bazaar spreads, the Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman’s comment appears to be right on target.
It was. For him, and anybody associated with him. But now that the game has come unstuck, it is becoming clear that the flamboyant 37-year-old Mehta, a fast-talking, fast-dealing high-roller is at the centre of the biggest financial and insider trading scam ever in the country’s history.
The money involved in the past one year alone could be as much as Rs 6,000 crore or more, taken from banks in various ways to play the booming stock-markets.
“There has been a clear systems failure and there are clear irregularities and evidence of collusion on the part of some bank officials,” says Montek Singh Ahluwalia, secretary, economic affairs at the Ministry of Finance.
The Government is under severe attack. Even Congress(I) members have asked for Finance Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation. The CBI is delving into the whole mess.
And the stock-markets, driven down by talk of a forced euphoria, are sluggish – the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) Sensitive Index dropped a record 1,077 points between April 26, when news of Mehta-related illegalities at SBI became public – to end at 3,086 on May 13 and drag most shares with it.