Whatever may have been said and written about Rajesh Sharma, he remains a miracle worker for one of the country's leading companies in alternate power when it was looking to raise funds.
"Macquire was first given a mandate, and the professionals at the institution tried and tried for a year, but were unable to help this company," recalls a top official at a multinational financial firm that helps realty firms to raise equity. "Enter Money Matters and bam! the company got what it wanted in two months straight."
"Sharma is a very polished and ambitious man who knew how the system works. Anyone who really knows how our system works, will not be surprised by the CBI revelations," the official, who claims to know Sharma well, said.
All the companies named by the CBI, and even people who have not been named but have dealt with Sharma, are running for cover. But it was not always like that.
"Sharma was really good at his work and at the end of the day he got things done," said another senior official who knows Sharma "very well."
HT spoke to at least five people who had, at one point or the other, been in touch with Sharma. "He was like any other investment banker, but perhaps more street-smart," says a banker whom Sharma had approached about a year ago for a debt deal. The banker claims the deal fell through.
Money Matters is one of the fastest growing investment banks in India, led by highly experienced bankers with decades of experience in premier Indian and MNC financial institutions. The company, established in 1997, is amongst India's leading financial advisory firms catering to corporate and institutional clients.
MMFSL's client-list includes TATA Group, Birla Group, Reliance ADAG, Adani Group, Jindal group, Future Group, Bharat Forge and DLF.
Its reach spans sectors like telecom, power, steel, ports, roads, financial services, auto, textiles, hospitality, retail and real estate.
The company is registered as a non-deposit taking NBFC. It also provides merchant banking and broking services through its subsidiaries, and had about 98 employees as of June 30, 2010 in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Sharma is the man who took Money Matters to such heights. And there are some who come to Sharma's defence, albeit while refusing to be named. "Everyone knows why Sharma is singled out. You must understand that he is not the only one who is involved in the practice, and this is how things are get done in the sector," said the head of a leading real-estate consultancy.
A senior official of a financial services company said Sharma was very good communicator. "He could easily convince high-net worth individuals (HNIs) about which shares they should buy. And I am talking about people who meet 20 investment bankers everyday," he said.