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Thriving in Honesty, Despite being Declared an Absconder

by Dr. Kailash Gupta, PGP 71

Back view of landscape with businessman and long way ahead.

Yes, you have read correctly, I was declared an absconder by a court and a permanent arrest warrant was issued against me in 2010. Unaware of this, for 13 years, I was living my life and thriving – I presented papers at two international conferences and was a visiting faculty at IIMA. I came to know about the permanent arrest warrant in 2023, took legal action, and got it quashed. It was issued because my advocate stopped appearing in the court, without informing me. A criminal case was filed against me by the Nepanagar police, Madhya Pradesh, alleging that I had made a false complaint. Ironically, I had filed the police complaint while taking shelter within the police station to save my life. I was informed that a mob of about 100-150 people would reach my home to thrash me and force me to leave Nepanagar. They, however, reached my home and misbehaved with my wife.

In 1998, I was appointed a full-time Director (Finance) of Nepa Ltd., a central government PSU manufacturing newsprint in Nepanagar, Madhya Pradesh. I initially performed my mandatory duties as D(F). The then CMD in the name of his wife, had a business that was supplying raw materials and selling finished products of Nepa Ltd. The government gave a show cause notice to him for not disclosing the conflicting relationship. He realized that I will not be a partner with him in his corrupt practices and will be a hindrance to his nefarious activities. He asked me to leave the company, made false allegations against me, and arranged to get me suspended by the government. However, the government Inquiry Committee didn’t find anything wrong in my work and my suspension was revoked.

The CMD waged a vendetta against me and ordered the security guard of the company to assault me in my office that perforated my left ear. Prashant Bhushan, my advocate in the Delhi High Court, for court cases against Nepa Ltd for not allowing me to work, advised me to go back to my home in Baroda, as my life was in danger in Nepanagar. The CMD meanwhile got a resolution passed by the Board of Directors to reduce the contract period of D(F) until 58 years of age, retaining CMD’s 60. This reduced my contract period from five years to three-and-half years, while CMD served five years. I had joined the loss-making company in the hope of working with CMD to turn around. However, because of my probity, I was the one who was turned around.

Before joining Nepa Ltd., I was a founder-member of Vadodara Stock Exchange Ltd. (VSEL). I have a whistleblowing attitude and challenged the unethical practices of VSEL, by raising questions in AGMs and other means. Around 1994, I was out of Vadodara for 3-4 days. VSEL sent a routine mail, which my employee didn’t receive and for this minor lapse, VSEL suspended me for seven days. I met Prof S. K. Chakraborty, a pioneer in the field of Human Values and Ethics and Founder-Convener of Management Centre for Human Values, IIM Calcutta. He said, “Consider the suspension as a feather in your cap.”

By now, I have collected enough feathers to make a crown with them. In 1998, VSEL expelled me from the membership by making false allegations, while Harshad Mehta, despite the securities scam, was only suspended by the Bombay Stock Exchange. I am fighting a legal case for 25 years against my expulsion.

Earlier in 1975, I was the CEO of a mini-steel plant of Andhra Steel Corporation in Bangalore. In a short time, we were able to increase production. At that time there was a requirement that the mild steel ingots need to be certified meeting the ISI quality. The lab reports didn’t prove the quality and I refused to sign the quality certificates, because of which the finished products accumulated, and couldn’t be taken out of the factory. Also, for the workers’ welfare, I started sanitary cleanliness, newspapers, and other amenities, and used to play volleyball with them. My attitude didn’t fit with the culture of owners and I was fired.

Afterwards, the only job I could get was with Manavasi Consultants, New Delhi. They had an assignment to prepare a valuation report of the private Mathura Electricity Company, due for acquisition by the government. I, with a helper, counted electricity poles and measured the length of wires in about 450C in the summer.

I have not compromised with my conscience, whatever may be the price. The foundation of this hard work and ethics was laid in my childhood. This was articulated in a consensus 1988 family values statement (Please see the photo of the note) developed after many family discussions during weekends. I am steadfastly sticky to these values.


I give credit for my steadfastness to my mother; one of my elder brothers, who was my father-figure; and my scouting training. I am the fifth of six siblings. My father died when I was four years old. I don’t have any memory of my missing father. My single-mother struggled to rear us. I was born in a Hindu family, adopted (not legally) by Protestant Christian mother and father, and have a Muslim rakhi sister. However, being a rational social scientist, I have lost faith in all faith-based religions. I design my life irrespective of what the family or the community say. Considering my adamant nature for my passions, my family gave up their objections for whatever I do.

When I was studying at Malaviya Regional Engineering College (MREC), now Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, Prof. Virendra Kumar Gupta of IIMA made a presentation about IIMA and management education. I was impressed and decided to join IIMA, although that year I couldn’t get admission. I finally got in and I was married and we had two children, before I passed out of the Institute. I am the first in our extended trading community to become a professional engineer and MBA. I am part of many firsts – first cohort CDRI (Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure) Fellow 2021-22, first cohort of MBAs from IIMA and C in 1971 who were lateral employees of a rank higher than the probationary officers in UCO Bank, first cohort of 30-unemployed graduate engineers in experimental full-time “Industrial Entrepreneurship” course started by the Ministry of Education of Govt. of India in 1968-69, and first batch of electrical engineering from MREC.

I don’t have any regrets in my life. I am living a joyous, healthy, blissful life, and have lived my life zestfully with as many hues and facets as possible. I have worked in different types of ownership organizations, sectors, functions, sizes, and locations. I am the co-founder and working trustee of the only all hazard body of emergency and disaster management professionals in India, and doing research that has a potential of making a social impact by reducing the demand-supply gap of tissue and organ transplantations. I am a happy person, because I didn’t betray my values despite the challenging consequences.

Dr Kailash Gupta, PGP 1971 was a visiting Faculty for Disaster Management, IIMA 2014-15; and President, IIMA Alumni Association, 1985-87. He is the Co-founder & Managing Trustee, of The International Emergency Management Society – India Chapter. He can be reached at

AUTHOR: admin
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