achieved is far more impressive.
We have a precious legacy to carry
on. What gains we have made in edu-
cation, politics or business, we owe a
lot to the generations that came
And so it is even more important
for our community to be exemplary
in whatever we do.
Rajat Gupta was a very good exam-
ple of assimilation and retaining
one’s culture. He never gave up his Indian
heritage; his home was decorated with
Indian artifacts. His four daughters called
And yet he was very much part of the
One of the most important festivals to the
family was Thanksgiving when he would
often think of the extended family and pay
tribute to a young nephew who died of
And yet the American dream soured for
Gurcharan Das, former head of Proctor &
Gamble and an influential author, felt
Gupta’s conviction had ‘stained the India
Das makes an important point. For
decades, Indian managers had thrived on
the reputation of the likes of men like
Gupta. He was a trail blazer.
I was a young reporter at The Wall Street
Journal when he became the head of
McKinsey and I remember reading the
story in awe and feeling a sense of pride well
up in me.
Following his success, many Indians
acquired a reputation in the West as being
highly effective managers. Books such as
The New India Way, by four professors at
the Wharton School, extolled the imagination, drive and accomplishments of Indian
Gupta had many admirers — both
Western and Eastern — and he could waltz
through different worlds, business and philanthropy, India and America, very easily.
But his conviction does not mean the end
of the Indian story in America.
I draw in the book on something that
David Ben-Gurion, the founder of Israel,
reportedly said: ‘In order for Israel to be
counted among the nations of the world, it
has to have its own burglars and prosti-
Every accomplished major immigration group in
America has had its heroes and fallen heroes. The Italians
have the Mafia. The Indian community today is vibrant,
strong in numbers and rich in diversity.
Let us not forget Preet Bharara, the US Attorney in this
case, is of Indian origin and so is the SEC’s top enforcement
lawyer, Sanjay Wadhwa.
Indian Americans today are no longer confined to walking the corridors of corporate America; they now stalk the
halls of justice.
Gupta’s fall from grace is tragic and heartbreaking, but we
also know that much like the immigrant groups before
them, Indians too have attained a certain security and once
unimaginable positions in American society, in the courts,
in universities, in business and in Hollywood.
We are not only large in numbers — some three million —
but we are also very diverse.
As I conclude my book, ‘No longer fearful of standing out,
the children of twice blessed are all too eager to stand up.’ ;
‘Rajat Gupta’s conviction does
not mean the end of the Indian
story in America’
pists that bankroll them.
What was the toughest part in
researching the book? And what were
your emotions at the sentencing of
I think the hardest part of the book
was writing about Gupta, a man whom
so many revered and considered an
icon, who was now convicted of an
I spoke to many of Gupta’s friends and for-
mer colleagues who were incredibly loyal to
him and I think that says a lot about him as an
It was very different to the image I developed
of Anil Kumar. Even some who knew him from
his childhood days acknowledged that as his
influence at McKinsey grew during the 1990s,
Kumar became arrogant and high-handed
falling prey to the age-old adage of pride comes
before a fall.
You mention in passing that when Gupta was
sentenced, and Rajaratnam was sent to prison,
many in the Indian-American community
thought the worst was over.
So when the big scandal over Mathew
Marthoma came about, many in the communi-
ty were relieved, thinking he was not an Indian.
He was Indian, having changed his name as
a young boy.
I think when it emerged that Marthoma was
Indian, there was a collective gasp of horror
among the Indian-American community, a
feeling of when will this story of South Asians
being involved in insider trading cases end?
This is why it is so important that the Indian-
American community realizes that a misstep
by one reflects on all and the recent cases
involving Gupta, Kumar and now Marthoma
will cast a long shadow on the community for
some time to come.
Anil Kumar, a senior partner at McKinsey
and a protégé of Rajat Gupta, who admitted
taking money from Rajaratnam for offering
inside tips, concocted a scheme involving his
domestic help, Manju Das.
What happened there? And would you say
that Kumar was least affected in this scandal
compared to Rajaratnam and Gupta?
Kumar arranged for the illicit payments he
was getting from Rajaratnam to be funneled to
Manju Das, his housekeeper, who he said was
an offshore investor.
Das actually lived with him and his wife in
California, so that was a lie. But Kumar fell compelled to
dissemble because he didn’t want to risk McKinsey know-
ing of the payments he was receiving for moonlighting for
In one sense, yes, Kumar was the least affected by this
Unlike Rajaratnam and now possibly Gupta, he didn’t
have to serve any prison time. He was just given two years
But in the court of public opinion Kumar has taken a bit
hit. Among his fellow Doscos — boys who went to (India’s
prestigious) Doon school — he is considered a ‘snitch’
which in their book may be worse than trading on inside
Preetinder Singh Bharara, better known as Preet
Bharara, has successfully prosecuted many white collar
But it was the Rajaratnam case that brought him wide
attention, followed by Rajat Gupta’s case.
You have interesting observations in your book about this,
and why Bharara went after Gupta in particular.
Anita Raghavan says it was important for Preet Bharara to pursue the Rajat Gupta case because he and
his office had come under fire for not charging any of the culprits behind the financial crisis in 2008.
Bharara had little to do with the building of the
Rajaratnam case — it was actually something he inherited
when he became US Attorney in August 2009.
I think it was important for him to pursue the Gupta case
because he and his office had come under fire for not charging any of the culprits behind the financial crisis in 2008.
While Gupta certainly did not have a hand in constructing shoddy mortgages or fueling the financial meltdown, he
was a big fish in the financial world, a man who served on
the boards of countless companies and some of America’s
biggest such as Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble.
By indicting him, Bharara would be able to send a strong
message to corporate America that board members who
share corporate secrets outside the boardroom will be prosecuted and could potentially face jail time.
Isn’t this book also a cautionary tale?
It is indeed.
Indians immigrants in America have had a magical journey for over four decades. People used to talk about the success of Chinese immigrants in recent decades, but in terms
of income and education what the Indian community has