“What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds?”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
This is probably the dilemma that Judge Rakoff would have faced in the wake of the Rajat Gupta trial. After all not every day the Former head of McKinsey, co-founder of many charitable institutions and a man who has done many-many good deeds comes to his court room as a defendant.
Rajat Gupta is a very good man. There is no doubt about it. But that unfortunately was never the question in the trial. The question was whether Rajat Gupta broke the law or not. And if did then what should be apt punishment for the same. Rajat’s lawyers pleaded that the fall in reputation for Mr Gupta is a punishment in itself and their client is unlikely to repeat his ” Transgression”. Very sound and sophisticated arguments to avoid jail time for Rajat Gupta.
Judge Rakoff in his judgement however said “General deterrence, however, suggests a different conclusion. Others similarly situated to the defendant must therefore be made to understand that when you get caught, you will go to jail.”
And that’s where Judge Rakoff deserves an applause from every Indian even though we love Rajat Gupta. Because in India if you have money and letters of references from former UN chief and Bill Gates you never go to jail. End of story.
And he upheld the law.
Dostoyevsky must be smiling somewhere.