ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Debashis Basu is a Chartered Accountant (1983). Basu worked as a journalist between 1984 and 1994 for many renowned newspapers including The Times of India. From 1994 to 2000, he wrote weekly columns for Business Standard and The Economic Times. He continues to write for Business Standard. Basu has authored many books on finance, share market, and investments including The Scam: From Harshad Mehta to Ketan Parekh.
He is the founder, editor, and publisher of Moneylife, a personal finance magazine. He was a member of the SEBI Task Force on the creation of the IndoNext market segment for smaller companies. Basu was also a member of the mutual fund advisory committee of SEBI.
Sucheta Dalal is a Padma Shri-winning Journalist. After, completing her LLM from Bombay University, she worked as a journalist for Business Standard, The Economic Times, and The Times of India. During her stint in The Times of India, she investigated several prominent scams, including the Harshad Mehta scam (1992) and the Ketan Parekh scam (2001).
She is the Managing Director of Monelife and trustee of Moneylife Foundation. She was a member of the market advisory committee of SEBI and Investor Education and Protection Fund of the Government of India.
The Scam: From Harshad Mehta to Ketan Parekh (fourth Edition) covers the scams that shook the Indian stock market and banking sectors from 1992 to 2001. It also takes the readers through the events that lead to these outrageous scams and their aftermaths.
To write this book, the authors took actual interviews of the people involved in the scams – some on record and others off record. One such anonymous person has been specially acknowledged by the author as the Deep Throat.
The authors have extensively covered the Harshad Mehta scam. Harshad Mehta’s rags-to-riches story and his subsequent downfall have been depicted in detail. The history of some other key people involved in these scams also finds a mention in the book. The roles of government financial institutions like RBI, SEBI, CBI, and the involved banks – Citi Bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), The Standard Chartered Bank, and National Housing Bank – are also explained at length.
Apart from Harshad Mehta, the book also provides valuable insights into the Stanchart scam, the Ketan Parekh scam, the Fairgrowth story, the JPC Fiasco, and the Global Trust Bank Scam.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE SCAM
The authors have expertly interwoven the various events and activities that led to each of these scams. Interestingly, they neither glorify nor vilify any of the people involved. The authors, therefore, come across as very unbiased in their approach, which is purely based on the information in hand.
While this book started as a technical piece of investigative journalism, the authors have managed to create a Panchatantra effect at the end of each chapter, from one story to another. Even more commendable is the fact how effortlessly the authors have tied all the loose ends at the end.
Another front on which The Scam does well is how easily the authors go about explaining complex financial terms to the layman.
WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THE SCAM
The Scam has too many characters and financial figures. While their presence can be justified on the grounds that it helps users get an insight into the backdrop of every scam, it does get slightly overwhelming at times.
In the grand dramatic style that was his hallmark, Harshad stunned the nation by stating in an affidavit that he and his brother Ashwin had paid Rs one crore to the PM.
In India, the problem has never been the existence of laws. The bigger issue is the enforcement of those laws.
The scam was not limited to individuals. Everybody was in it, like vultures nibbling at a rotten corpse.
The Scam is an extremely well researched book on the financial scams that rocked the country between 1992-2001. We do recommend this book to the readers. However, for those with little-to-no knowledge of finance and stock markets, please be mindful that this is a rather heavy work.
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