The popularity of Hansal Mehta's web series, Scam 1922 has sky rocketed. The successful show is based on the 1992 Indian stock market scam committed by stockbroker Harshad Mehta. And heavily influenced by the book written by Sucheta Dalal and her husband, Debashis Basu called The Scam: Who Won, Who lost, Who got away.
While everyone is enamoured by the storytelling, it is actually Sucheta Dalal, the journalist who fought to expose him who comes across as the true hero of the story. Today's media should take note of her admirable journalistic skills and grit and determination with which she went seeking the truth.
1992 had journalists like Sucheta Dalal who knew the entire story but didn't release anything because of lack of evidence. and now we have Arnab Goswami turning republic tv into supreme court and conducting media trials!— T 🍵 (@okaytanisha) October 28, 2020
Sucheta Dalal is one of the heroes we haven't heard enough about— Bed Tea Debi (@sohinichat) October 28, 2020
Every actor and technician has outdone themselves in Hansal Mehta's seminal #Scam1992, unquestionably the best Indian limited series of the year so far. But the real hero of the show is Sucheta Dalal, without whose grit and perseverance this story would have never been told.— Sayantan Ghosh (@sayantansunnyg) October 28, 2020
Sucheta brought the scam to light in 1992 and was later awarded a Padma Shri for journalism in 2006. Her interest in the scam when she got curious about the lifestyle that Harshad led, and his ever growing popularity, and she decided to investigate his wealth. A journalist for The Times of India at the time, she wrote a column exposing the scam on 23 April, 1992. Post which, she published her book about the same in 1993.
For her work, she was honoured with the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediapersons in 1992 and the Femina’s Woman of Substance Award.
Apart from the 1992 Harshad Mehta scam, she also brought other cases to light. This includes the Enron scandal and the IDBI scam. Sucheta was also responsible for unveiling the Ketan Parekh scam, where the stock broker was convicted for his involvement in the Indian stock market manipulation from late 1998 to 2001.
His relentless rigging of BPL, Videocon and Sterlite shares ended with the inevitable collapse and a cover-up operation involving an illegal opening of the trading system in the middle of the night by the Bombay Stock Exchange officials. It cost the BSE President and Executive Director their jobs.
- Sucheta Dalal on Harshad Mehta
Originally a law student, Sucheta began her journey in journalism in 1984 with Fortune India, an investment magazine. Post which, she worked with the Business Standard and The Economic Times and became the Financial Editor of The Times of India. Now, she is the Consulting Editor for MoneyLife, an online financial magazine she co-founded with her husband in 2006.
Her hard work and brave resolve to expose those who were taking advantage of the system hasn't gone unnoticed. And even though Harshad Mehta comes across as the focus point of the story, Sucheta is the hero without whom it would have been impossible to tell this story.