Harshad Mehta – Can he be blamed alone for the 1992 Financial Scam?

Harshad Mehta, a name history can never forget. He was known as the king of the BSE i.e. Bombay Stock Exchange, along with the titles given to him by servile media and fawning market such as Big Bull, Cheetah and Amitabh Bachchan of Dalal Street. Harshad was a daring trader, who had the invincible drive to make a fortune. A magazine also featured him as “The Raging Bull” on its cover page. Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992, The Harshad Mehta is a story of a man who made the word “Stock Market” common in every household. For many people he was a hero and admired him to the core. But some considered him as a man whose blatant decadence crashed the Bombay Stock Exchange. In fact many people lost a huge amount and some committed suicide.

harshad mehta
Courtesy pic: www.freepersonaljournal.in

A Must Watch

The Sony Liv’s web series Scam 1992 is also a story of an unrelenting journalist Sucheta Dalal. She was on a mission to reveal the unpleasant truth of the king of the market. The series takes us back to India’s first biggest financial fraud, with vivid writing and crisp acting by its lead actors. The series is an adaptation of the book “The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away”, written by Sucheta Dalal and her husband Debashish Basu. The book is outstanding, convincing and narrates an important section about India after independence. The direction of Hansal Mehta is splendid. He in fact succeeded in depicting the real Harshad Mehta. Hansal did a deep research into his life. In the series he has shown how tough Mehta’s life became, particularly after he got entangled in several cases.

Courtesy pic: www.tribuneindia.com

Can we blame Harshad alone?

The Sony liv web series raised many questions such as Was it reasonable to blame only Harshad for the fraud or the entire system was part of it? Was his case dealt with prejudice? Wasn’t he victimized by pointless media interference? Was he made a scapegoat in this entire scam? Was Mehta really responsible behind the condition of the common man? Isn’t it normal that every business comes with risk factors? Why was he given a strict punishment, but other people who were involved in the scam were let go without punishment?

harshad mehta
Courtesy pic: www.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Aren’t we responsible for our decisions?

I believe as an individual we are responsible for our decisions. Harshad didn’t tell people to invest on gun point. Every business comes with a risk, higher the profit more the risk. When, we start a business it doesn’t come with a guarantee, that it will be a success. So, the common people were expecting to earn profits, but were not willing to bear the losses. I agree, Harshad Mehta managed to use a huge amount from the banks to the stock market, by manipulating the gaps in the system. But, banks like city bank and other foreign banks were not lacking behind. In fact, they toyed around with the system much before Harshad tripped into the gaps. The RBI – Reserve Bank of India was very well aware of the manipulation, but considering India’s risky forex reserves position and sporadic dependence on foreign banks they chose to keep mum.

Courtesy pic: www.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Business comes with its own risk

We can’t ignore the fact that, every business is dependent on various factors and same is the case with the share market. People who trusted Harshad didn’t even try to learn the basics of the market and invested their entire savings to earn profits in multiple. It is vital to know, that the stock market is a risky and unpredictable market. Therefore, before making the investment and following someone’s tip blindly, instead of doing any research, isn’t astute at all. It’s vital to know that investing in the stock market comes with odds.

Courtesy pic: www.hwnews.in

His hunger for money, was his grave mistake

The biggest mistake of Harshad was he was reckless enough to put a huge amount into the stock market to exploit share prices. But, the foreign bank and their pet brokers were not uncontrolled and wild like him. Harshad had a determination, passion and risk taking ability, but his greed took him to the gloomy paths. Irrespective of the struggle he had put into building Growmore Research and Asset Management his hunger to earn more and more money gradually went out of control. But, if we talk about determination, he wasn’t the only one who had aspirations to become a king of the stock market. There were others too, including Sucheta Dalal and Debashish Basu, who kept following him and took several risks to uncover his story. In the end, what did they earn? Immense financial gain and fame. So, we all have that drive.

harshad mehta
Courtesy pic: www.freepersonaljournal.in

A high profile scam

What Harshad did was misused the gaps of the already twisted banking system and got caught. The 1992 scam was a high profile scam. The fraud could have been avoided by the RBI or the banks or the king himself. But, who doesn’t want to taste extremely high returns in a short period of time, isn’t that lucrative enough? So why blame Harshad alone. Everyone involved in the fraud was a party to it.

Courtesy pic: www.techynerd.com

Conclusion

In my point of view, we can’t blame others for our misery and decisions. He duped the system, he got his dues. The financial fraud, that took place in 1992, unraveled the loopholes of the banking system and the stock market. This incident also forced the SEBI to introduce rules, form policies and made India’s financial market organized and orderly. The bottom line is, before making an investment, check with the experts. Do watch Hansal Mehta’s series on Sony liv. It is a story of a dramatic rise and fall of the Harshad Mehta.

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By Poonam

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