You probably not have heard about famous Indian stockbroker Harshad Shantilal Mehta and his Lexus LS 400 before watching Scam 1992, a SonyLIV Originals crime drama web-series directed by Hansal Mehta. Harshad’s lucky charm, the Lexus LS defined rise and fall of his life and carrier.
After making great deals with corporates and government subsidiaries, Harshad was ‘The Name’ of Bombay Stock Exchange SENSEX. Everyone wanted to invest in his company GrowMore Consultancy, actually they wanted to invest on whatever Harshad is saying. He created a trustworthy image in the market and was also known as Amitabh Bachchan of stock market. To celebrate his glory and to signalize that he has finally arrived, Harshad planned to purchase a car which nobody has ever seen, he visits an imported car dealership who knows him well, he checks out Maharaja’s 1200 cc Alfa Romeo, Plymouth but he insists for something new. He replies to the salesman, “Darling, it’s my time, not only Maharaja’s car, we can purchase his whole mahal. Show me something new in imported cars.” Dealer says that hardly one imported car arrives each month. He further reveals that one Lexus is coming from Dubai next month but that has been booked by Ajay Kedia who happens to be a market competitor of Harshad. Upon asking the price dealer said it’s sold at Rs. 45 lakh and he has given his words. Harshad swiftly replies, “I will pay you Rs. 55 lakh, Rs. 45 lakh for the car and Rs. 10 lakh for your words, send the car directly to my home from Dubai.”
In the next scene Lexus LS pooja is being done at his home in Madhuli Apartments, Mumbai. It was a first generation Lexus LS 400 codenamed XF10 designed by Kunihiro Uchida. A high class luxury car holding the power of 250 Horses through a heavy 4000 cc V8 engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission, a sedan rarely seen in Indian roads back then. During the pooja Harshad’s brother Ashwin asks him what you will do with so many cars, you already have 15-20 cars in the garage. Harshad ask him back that you didn’t liked car. Ashwin says he liked the car but asks what will change with this car. Harshad says, “Money attracts money, people should know Mehtas are no less than Tatas or Ambanis.” Ashwin also prompts of an evil eye due to such expensive car, but Harshad laughs it off and takes his family for a drive.
Business is accelerating and Harshad bank balance was also accelerating with 250+ horsepower. Everybody made money who invested in Harshad’s shares namely ACC, Apollo tyres, Mazda Industries etc. He became the new market guru, he was everywhere. Brokers, investors, businessmen and politicians everybody wanted to get close with Harshad Mehta. They wanted to know his next step. He visits Mumbai’s Dalal Street to check the share market in his Lexus LS and everybody cheers for him as if the market god has arrived.
But not everybody was happy with his success. Sucheta Dalal, a Times of India reporter wrote about his negative side. Harshad sends his Lexus to invite her over a dinner conversation. The talk didn’t went well and Dalal calls out his bad business tactics.
On February 28, 1992, Income Tax officers raid his home and office. After few days Doordarshan News team visits Harshad’s office on March 1 to get his reaction on budget. He takes them out for a drive, parks his car in front of SBI office and gives his positive reaction on the budget quoting, “Invest in India, India pe laga do, kyunki India ka bhav bhadne wala hai.” He also said I don’t smoke but keep a lighter in my pocket to create an explosion.
News again came out that Harshad Mehta is unable to pay Rs. 500 crores to SBI, with increasing heat into the matter, Harshad pays back the amount in few days. Life gets back on track and he takes his wife for a theatre show in his Lexus LS.
How he managed to pay Rs. 500 crores to SBI slowly became a public matter with Sucheta Dalal investigating into his business with help of her sources and fellow media journalists. CBI steps in backed by P. V. Narasimha Rao Government. Matter keeps getting bigger and bigger and they freeze all his assets and shares. After a month Harshad gets a bail and he waves his hand outside the jail to the media & people who are cheering for him once again. He steps into his Lexus LS and heads back home for a better life.
CBI, ED & other government agencies just don’t seem to leave Harshad and soon his assets are being auctioned to repay the money which included his prized possession Lexus LS 400. Harshad attends the auction just to check who has bought his beloved Lexus. Local businessman named Raja Duggal bought that black 1991 Lexus LS which Harshad sadly watches standing at the back. Parting ways with the Lexus somehow explained that things will now decline in his life.
After another scam of illegally selling of shares by his business associate Bhushan Bhatt, Harshad Mehta was again brought to jail, slapped, abused, ill-treated and this time Harshad couldn’t take it. He suffered heart attack and died after being left unattended at the hospital on 31 December 2001. The black Lexus LS accelerated his life with fortunes and as soon as that car left his garage, Harshad career only decelerated.
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