Rajat Gupta, an accused in an insider trading scam in the US, was hailed for long as a poster-boy of Indians scaling great heights in corporate echelons abroad and his friends describe him as a God-fearing, 'first-class guy'.
A native of Kolkata and an IITian, Gupta moved up the corporate ladder fast after graduating from the Harvard Business School. His record boasts of posts like head of consultancy giant McKinsey, board seats at Goldman Sachs and Procter and Gamble and special adviser to the United Nations, among other things.
Besides, he has also advised business leaders like General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt and Henry Kravis of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company.
While there are quite a few persons of Indian origin who have successfully handled leadership positions at one or another large global company, Gupta figures among the very few who have occupied corner offices of various such entities.
The prosecutors have charged Gupta of being the "illegal eyes and ears" of Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund manager now under arrest for allegedly being the mastermind of the multi-billion dollar scam. The Sri Lankan has termed his friend as a "first-class guy".
Rajaratnam has said the US prosecutors pressed him to trap his friend by wiretapping a conversation with Gupta.
"They wanted me to plea bargain... They want to get Rajat. I am not going to do what people did to me. Rajat has four daughters," Rajaratnam said in an interview with the online newspaper the Daily Beast, while being under house arrest.
Back in India, Gupta figures among the very few people to have interviewed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, more so among those from outside the media organisations.