•1 Early life
•2 Stock Market Scandal
•3 External links
Harshad Shantilal Mehta was born in a Gujarati Jain family of modest means. His early childhood was spent in Mumbai where his father was a small-time businessman. Later, the family moved to Raipur in Madhya Pradesh after doctors advised his father to move to a drier place on account of his indifferent health. But Raipur could not hold back Mehta for long and he was back in the city after completing his schooling. Stock Market Scandal
Mehta gradually rose to become a stock broker on the Bombay Stock Exchange and lived almost like a movie star in a 15,000 square feet apartment, which had a swimming pool as well as a golf patch. He also had a taste for flashy cars, which ultimately led to his downfall. The year was 1990. Years had gone by and the driving ambitions of a young man in the faceless crowd had been realised. Harshad Mehta was making waves in the stock market. He had been buying shares heavily since the beginning of 1990. The shares which attracted attention were those of Associated Cement Company (ACC). The price of ACC was bid up to Rs 10,000. For those who asked, Mehta had the replacement cost theory as an explanation. The theory basically argues that old companies should be valued on the basis of the amount of money which would be required to create another such company. Through the second half of 1991, Mehta was the darling of the business media and earned the sobriquet of the ‘Big Bull’, who was said to have started the Bull Run. But, where was Mehta getting his endless supply of money from? Nobody had a clue. On April 23, 1992, journalist Sucheta Dalal in a column in The Times of India, exposed the dubious ways of Harshad Metha. The broker was dipping illegally into the banking system to finance his buying. “In 1992, when I broke the story about the Rs 600 crore that he had swiped from the State Bank of India, it was his visits to the bank’s headquarters in a flashy Toyota Lexus that was the tip-off. Those days, the Lexus had just been launched in the international market and importing it cost a neat package,” Dalal wrote in one of her columns later. The authors explain: “The crucial mechanism through which the scam was effected was the ready forward (RF) deal. The RF is in essence a secured short-term (typically 15-day) loan from one bank to another. Crudely put, the bank lends against government securities just as a pawnbroker lends against jewellery…. The borrowing bank actually sells the securities to the lending bank and buys them back at the end of the period of the loan, typically at a slightly higher price.” It was this ready forward deal that Harshad Mehta and his cronies used with great success to channel money from the banking system. A typical ready forward deal involved two banks brought together by a broker in lieu of a commission. The broker handles neither the cash nor the securities, though that wasn’t the case in the lead-up to the scam. “In this settlement process, deliveries of securities and payments were made through the broker. That is, the seller handed over the securities to the broker, who passed them to the buyer, while the buyer gave the cheque to the broker, who then made the payment to the seller. In this settlement process, the buyer and the seller...