Harshad Mehta Net Worth

In this article, we will learn about Harshad Mehta net worth. Harshad Mehta was an Indian stockbroker notorious for his role in the 1992 Indian securities scam that resulted in widespread market manipulation. Often referred to as the ‘Big Bull’ of the Indian stock market, Mehta single-handedly engineered the rise and fall of stock prices and amassed huge wealth during his heydays. At his peak, Harshad Mehta net worth was estimated to be over Rs 500 crore, an astronomical figure back in the 1990s. Let’s explore the controversial life and wealth accumulation of the man who shook the Indian financial markets.

Early Life and Entry into Stockbroking

Harshad Mehta was born in a Gujarati Jain family in 1954 in Rajkot, Gujarat. His father was a small businessman selling cotton fabrics. Mehta graduated with a B.Com degree and started working with the New India Assurance Company initially in the late 1970s.

However, he soon shifted to Mumbai where he joined brokerage firm Nandalal Sheth Securities as an accountant in 1980. This marked his entry into the stockbroking domain. Over the next decade, Mehta slowly grew in stature and became a leading stockbroker managing portfolios of high net worth individuals as well as major corporations.

The Rise of the ‘Big Bull’ in the 1980s

The 1980s marked the rise of Harshad Mehta as a force to reckon with in the Indian stock market. He cultivated relationships with various bankers and became close to important power brokers of the time. Using his connections, Mehta started manipulating stock prices by buying heavily into certain shares and artificially ramping up their prices, earning him huge profits.

Some instances of Mehta’s activities during this period:

  • He engineered the rise of ACC shares from Rs 200 to nearly Rs 9000 between 1982-89.
  • Manipulated Sterlite Industries shares using a fund of Rs 600 crore in 1989.
  • Circulated rumors about Tata-Sons takeover bids to drive share prices higher.
  • Rigged the BSE Sensex from 1000 points to 4500 points by the end of the decade.

Riding on these manipulations, Harshad Mehta rapidly grew his wealth. He used to drive around in expensive cars and purchased a 10,000 sq ft luxurious sea-facing penthouse in Worli, one of Mumbai’s most affluent locations. This lavish lifestyle and his ability to inflate stock prices earned him the moniker ‘Big Bull’ – an allusion to Wall Street’s legendary traders like Jesse Livermore nicknamed the ‘Big Bull’.

The Securities Scam of 1992 and Downfall

Harshad Mehta reached the peak of his power in the early 1990s, single-handedly able to move the markets through his actions. However, his manipulations finally came to light when the State Bank of India reported a shortfall in government securities worth Rs 1000 crore in its balance sheet in April 1992.

This set off a massive probe that found Mehta had colluded with many bankers to use bank funds illegally to engage in his activities. Mehta had manipulated the banking system to borrow huge amounts that he invested in stocks to inflate prices.

Once the scam was revealed, the markets crashed leading to a loss in value and confidence. Mehta’s assets were frozen during investigations and he was banned from trading in the stock exchanges. Over Rs 4000 crore collected from Mehta were returned to affected banks.

With his downfall, Harshad Mehta became the prime accused in the securities scam that had rocked the Indian financial world. It led to major reforms in the stock market regulations to improve transparency.

Harshad Mehta Net Worth : Assets of Harshad Mehta

During his peak, Harshad Mehta amassed incredible wealth and lived a luxurious lifestyle. Let’s look at the estimated net worth and assets he had accumulated:

  • Cash and Bank Deposits: Mehta had cash and deposits around Rs 600 crore in various bank accounts that came under the scanner.
  • Kachigam Property: Mehta owned a massive beachfront plot in Gujarat valued at over Rs 400 crore with plans to build bungalows.
  • Cars: He had a fleet of expensive cars including multiple Toyota Corolla, Lexus LS400, and Toyota Sera. Total value was over Rs 5 crore.
  • Jewellery: Mehta possessed diamond studded jewellery and precious stones worth Rs 10 crore.
  • Real Estate: Apart from his luxurious Worli penthouse, Mehta owned properties in prime locations across Mumbai worth over Rs 60 crore.
  • Other assets: These included shares, bonds, fixed deposits and possessions like gold etc. totaling over Rs 200 crore value.

Estimated Total Net Worth: Nearly Rs 500 crore in peak times pre-scam making him a rupee billionaire.

Since most of his assets were acquired through illegal means, they were confiscated during investigations after the scam surfaced. Mehta was convicted for fraud under various charges and ultimately passed away in 2002 while appealing his conviction. He was just 47 years old when he died.

Impact of the Securities Scam in India

The securities scam masterminded by Harshad Mehta had far reaching implications and changed the course of the Indian stock market history. Here is how it impacted the country’s financial realm:

  • Led to the ban on badla trading system which was misused by Mehta for speculation. This affected liquidity in the markets.
  • SEBI was formed as the regulator for securities market to rebuild investor trust and improve transparency in operations.
  • Stock exchanges were forced to implement improved risk management and surveillance systems.
  • Steps were taken to segregate investor funds and broking firm funds in separate accounts.
  • Number of brokers dropped as license rules were tightened after the scam.
  • Rupee-dollar swap rates increased sharply impacting import and exports. The scam also hurt national reserves.
  • Overall, it led to more accountability in the stock market mechanisms and operations. But it eroded investor confidence for a few years.

While the securities scam was a black mark, it did force corrective actions leading to better capital market regulations. SEBI’s formation as the watchdog proved to be a turning point.

Reasons for Mehta’s Meteoric Rise and Downfall

Harshad Mehta’s story encapsulates how an ambitious individual was able to find loopholes in the system to accumulate immense wealth before meeting his downfall. Here are some of the key factors:

Reasons for Rise

  • Expert grasp over functioning of the stock market systems
  • Cultivated contacts with bankers willing to provide illegal funding for his plans
  • Exploited lack of transparency and regulatory oversight at the time
  • Spread rumors and manipulated perceptions about certain shares
  • Used targeting trading patterns and funding to artificially hike share prices
  • Showmanship about his lavish lifestyle created larger-than-life image

Reasons for Downfall

  • Overreaching manipulation in selected stocks led to discovery of irregularities
  • Banks started reporting discrepancies in their securities and deposits
  • Market crash after scam revealed brought losses to masses deflating his image
  • Regulators cracked down on his dealings to recover money and punish him
  • Banned from trading leading to loss of power to control market activities
  • Public turned hostile as the scam brought huge financial losses to investors

Mehta’s unfettered control and manipulation of the Indian securities market allowed him to amass over Rs 500 crore net worth before the historic scam cut short his stunning rise.

Legacy and Lessons from the Harshad Mehta Story

Harshad Mehta’s life story holds some crucial lessons for investors and market intermediaries:

  • Need for maintaining ethics and transparency in stock market dealings
  • Loopholes in regulations lead to opportunities for unethical practices
  • Regulators play critical role in keeping checks and balances in the system
  • Building too much wealth too fast always carries enormous risks
  • Retail investors are ultimately affected the most by market manipulations
  • Patience, discipline and farsightedness matter more than shortcuts for long-term wealth creation

Mehta is seen as both a visionary for having spotted market opportunities early and an anti-hero for the means adopted. His storied rise and fall brought systemic changes. But his scandal ridden legacy serves as a cautionary tale on how unchecked greed for money and power invariably ends badly. The saga of Harshad Mehta continues to be cited as a fascinating case study for stock market enthusiasts in India.

Popular Culture Depictions

Harshad Mehta’s sensational story has been captured in popular Indian culture through books, shows and movies. Some major depictions include:

The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away (1993 book)

One of the first books documenting the securities scam was penned by journalists Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal soon after the scam unfolded. It provided insights into Mehta’s methods and the impact on various entities.

Gafla (2006 movie)

This Gujarati movie dramatized the rags to riches story of a stockbroker involved in market manipulation. While it carried a fictional storyline, the protagonist was heavily inspired by Mehta’s journey.

Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story (2020 web series)

One of the most popular depictions, the SonyLIV series Scam 1992 focused entirely on Harshad Mehta’s life using real world events. Actor Pratik Gandhi delivered a standout performance as Mehta.

Big Bull (2021 movie)

The Abhishek Bachchan starter film dramatized the events leading to Mehta’s scam and downfall. However, it took creative liberties presenting an entertaining fictionalized account.

Bad Boy Billionaires (2020 documentary)

The Netflix docu-series profiled notorious Indian billionaires including an episode detailing Harshad Mehta’s involvement in the securities scam of 1992.

Through these shows and films, the notorious story of the rise and fall of Harshad Mehta has become etched in popular imagination and become a metaphor for unchecked ambition.

Mehta’s Associates: Where are They Now?

Harshad Mehta did not operate alone. He cultivated a network of associates who actively abetted his manipulations. Here is what happened to some of them:

  • Hiten Dalal: Mehta’s key aide provided much of the logistical support for scams. He was tried and convicted for many years before his death in 2021.
  • Naresh J. Mehta: A prominent broker, he helped funnel funds illegally along with Mehta. He was penalized and barred from trading by SEBI for life.
  • Pallav Sheth: A friend and associate, he was charge sheeted by SEBI for fraudulent trading practices along with Mehta. But was acquitted later by appellate tribunal.
  • Mrinal Kanti Ganguli: The bank executive helped arrange funds for Mehta from Bank of Karad. Was convicted by court and sentenced to prison in late 1990s.
  • Nayan Mehta: Harshad’s younger brother, he was found involved in various market manipulation activities with his sibling. He was fined Rs 2000 crore by SEBI but still trades.

Most of Mehta’s main associates faced crackdown from authorities, bans, fines or convictions due to their hand in the scam. But some like his brother Nayan managed to continue in the markets despite penalties.

Lasting Impact on Indian Financial Markets

Though decades have passed since the infamous 1992 securities scam, Harshad Mehta’s legacy has permanently impacted the Indian stock markets in many ways:

  • Stricter vetting norms for brokerage firms and stricter penalties for malpractices
  • Improved trade settlement procedures to reduce risk from speculative activity
  • Daily mark to market mechanism with margin requirements introduced
  • Detailed disclosure for loan against shares and inter-institutional lending
  • Surveillance systems modernized with technology to detect irregularities
  • Code of ethics for financial market intermediaries like brokers
  • Investor awareness programs by SEBI and exchanges on responsible investing

The systems today are far more robust. Though manipulation still happens sometimes, another scam of the scale engineered by Harshad Mehta has not occurred again. But regulators remain watchful to protect stakeholders interests.


In the final analysis, Harshad Mehta story exemplified the maxim that the greater the ambition, the greater the risk of downfall when power is misused for greed. Through a potent mix of financial acumen, networks and opportunism, Mehta built an enormous net worth of over ₹500 crore – enormous for those times – by exploiting weaknesses in market oversight. However, his market manipulation came crashing down when regulators stepped in after the historic 1990s securities scam. Mehta’s legacy illustrates both the strengths and fragilities of Indian stock markets as well as the need for transparency and ethics in finance. Despite masterminding India’s biggest stock market scam, Harshad Mehta continues to fascinate generations of market watchers for the almost cinematic-like story of his meteoric rise and equally dramatic fall.

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