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Rajat Gupta restless as jurors debate insider trading case

business Updated: Jun 15, 2012 21:04 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Perhaps for the first time in the three-week trial, former Mckinsey chief Rajat Gupta sat in visitors' gallery on Thursday, frequently huddling with his family members.

As the jurors deliberated his fate just a few feet away, Gupta wandered the courtroom restlessly, occasionally glancing at a clutch of reporters waiting for the verdict just as eagerly.

All everyone could do was wait as the jury began deliberations Thursday morning after almost three weeks of arguments and testimony in Gupta’s trial for leaking corporate information.

The former Mckinsey boss, a student of Delhi's Modern School and IIT, is charged with six counts of security fraud and conspiracy. He has denied the charges, and pleaded not-guilty

The case against Gupta is based mostly on circumstantial evidence — two phone calls from Gupta’s office to Galleon's Raj Rajaratnam, followed by the latter ordering large share transactions.

Gupta was then on the boards of investment bank Goldman Sachs and consumer goods giant Procter &Gamble. He is accused of passing on inside information about these companies to Rajaratnam, whose phone was under surveillance..

Rajaratnam was held guilty in 2011 of insider trading and sentenced to 11 years in jail. He has not deposed against Gupta but some of his Galleon and non-Galleon associates have.

A note from the jurors asking the judge to explain “conspiracy”, which is among the charges against Gupta, created a flutter in the courtroom, as there was something to talk about.

Judge Jed S Rakoff asked the prosecution and defence to help him frame a reply satisfactory to both parties. And then a note was sent to the jury.

The jury also sought copies of the testimony of former Galleon employee Michael Cardillo, which was provided to them nearly at closing time. And that was the last heard from the jurors.

Earlier, one juror asked the judge’s permission to be escorted out of the courthouse for a smoke, which was granted. And two jurors wanted to make urgent phone calls.

As they walked across the courtroom, everyone got up on their feet, until the court marshall came around waving them down, asking them to stand up only for the judge.

But all eyes were on a grim-faced Gupta who walked around the courtroom, frequently talking to his family — wife and four daughters — and mostly with Geetanjali, the eldest.

Geetanjali had testifed as a defence witness last Friday.