Mehta was in the focus of public attention in the year with a number of financial crimes charged on him.
Harshad Mehta is dead; but the trail goes on. Although unintended, there could be no commentary more sharply ironic on the legacy on the person who became emblematic of all that is wrong with India's financial system.
Massive cardiac arrest is believed to have caused Mehta's death on New Year's eve, although the final results of his post-mortem examination were still awaited. The death at the Thane Civil Hospital of the architect of the Rs. But the issues of accountability and justice raised then, and again in the context of repeated scandals over the past decade, remain.
AFP Harshad Mehta, a photograph. By the end of that month, he was accused of having diverted funds from the public sector Maruti Udyog Limited MUL to his own accounts, provoking a record point fall in the Sensex.
From then until Junewhen a sustained furore in Parliament led to the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee JPC to investigate the matter, revelations of misappropriation from banks and public sector units piled up on an almost weekly basis. Mehta, meanwhile, spent days in jail, only to acquire upon his release renewed notoriety by claiming that he had made a Rs.
While the JPC Report soon provided a comprehensive and coherent picture of both the scale and mechanics of the securities fraud, putting together criminal evidence took much longer. It was only in October that the Special Court set up to hear the securities scandal-related cases could approve prosecution on 34 charges brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation CBI.
The CBI in all filed 72 sets of charges relating to criminal offences, while odd civil cases proceeded alongside. Of these, so far convictions have been secured only in the case of four. Last April, he secured acquittal in another case.
His counterpart in the bear cartel, Hiten Dalal, is the only scam-accused person actually to have received a final sentence, after the Supreme Court dismissed in July his appeal against a conviction.
For anyone familiar with the pace at which India's criminal justice system works, it will come as no surprise that Mehta is not the only key securities scandal accused to have passed away over the past decade. Goiporia, managing director in charge of investments C.
Khemani, and chief of vigilance R.
Kamath, all died before they could give evidence. So too did top scam-tainted firm Fairgrowth Financial Services' top officials B. Dharampal, along with bear cartel top shot Bhupen Dalal's aide, J.
Now, legal experts say, further delays are certain, since charges will have to be recast to focus on Mehta's associates in the deal, notably his brothers Sudhir and Ashwin.
All this delay seems a little bizarre, given that there was little that was complicated about Mehta's scam. Consider the case of the MUL fraud. The transfer was made in violation of the express orders of MUL's board of directors.
The best book on the Harshad Mehta Scam is: The Scam: Who Won, who Lost, who Got Away: South Asia Books, By Debasis Basu and Sucheta Dalal.
This is one of the best written investigative book on myriads of Indian Stock markets.
Harshad Mehta was a well-known stock broker, alleged to have manipulated the stock market in by drawing out funds from banks fraudulently.
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