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Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story: A Review

In contrast, today main line media, that particular media house also included or rather leading from the front, is nothing but a bunch of prostitutes competing with each other…

That makes me wonder whether despite our evolution over millions of years, deep down we have remained just monkeys – interested only in peanuts!

‘Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story’ is a much talked about and appreciated video series consisting of 10 episodes available on Sony Liv. It is supposed to be a realistic story of Harshad Mehta, now dramatized, based on the book ‘The Scam’ by Debashish Basu and Sucheta Dalal.

I recently watched it till end and found it quite interesting and revealing. I feel like sharing some of my thoughts on viewing it. This dramatization gives a very good insight into how the system works, or rather worked in the nineties, both inside and outside the government. It can also be said to be a good commentary on how democracies work, or rather on the failings of democracies.

What stands out is how media, or rather some upright journalists, could cause such a big upheaval in the nineties. In contrast, today main line media, that particular media house also included or rather leading from the front, is nothing but a bunch of prostitutes competing with each other. Even more depressing is the fact that even those trying to call the media out and make a difference are totally ineffective in achieving anything, while the rot in the system continues to grow more and more. That should make one wonder and think hard whether the problem is with the government and other institutions or whether it is much deeper! Is it not that we, the people at large, are responsible for the all round rot? The very definition of democracy does indicate so.

One would do well to note that there was nothing controversial about the role of judiciary that time in the whole matter. Again in contrast, role of judiciary has come into question time and again since then. There was a lot said about acquittals in 2G scam. Today, things have come to such a pass that even Supreme Court of India has mostly lost public respect and lies unashamedly compromised and exposed!

Rupees 5000 crores scam was considered an earth shaking scam those days. Today the bar is much upped with lakhs of crores worth scams like 2G, coal scam etc. having surfaced and forgotten. No one bothers about a number of individuals having been instrumental in much bigger scams than the 1992 scam. Lalit Modis and Vijay Mallyas remain well entrenched in foreign lands, and forgotten. So much pain was taken by a number of officials and some journalists for months and years those days to bring the irregularities to light and set in the corrections. In contrast, today a thousand times bigger and all-encompassing public scam or fraud or crime lies indisputably proven and available in the public domain on a plate for the media or the authorities, to act; but no one is interested! That makes me wonder whether despite our evolution over millions of years, deep down we have remained just monkeys – interested only in peanuts! Haha! Self righteous Kirti Azads, worried about purity of the game of cricket, worry only about corruption in some petty unit like DDCA but total massacre and criminalization of the sport at the international level doesn’t bother them a bit.

The series makes one sympathize with Harshad Mehta. It is shown that he was not a scammer, just used the existing loopholes in the system to his advantage, not meaning any bad to anyone, and was made a scapegoat by the system or the political bosses when things went wrong and his enemies succeeded. One can’t know for sure if it was so. The use of media to settle personal scores by a few, though, does stand out.

The rot in the government institutions including CBI even those days has been well brought out and gives good insight to a common viewer. Characterization of Madhavan, the CBI deputy director, gives a glimpse of inherent sadism in extremely honest law-enforcing officers, and probably very rightly. Acting and direction have been good. On the whole, felt like having watched something worthwhile and of value, a pleasant happening against the tide!

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Atul Kumar

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