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Rahul Roy

Past President Institute of

Chartered Accountants of India

Rahul Roy was my Partner at EY. I have worked with him closely for about seven years. I met Rahul in early 1999 when he joined our firm S.R. Batliboi & Co., He at once impressed me as a man of letters and not just another accountant. I discovered that he was well-read and a great speaker too, attributes that are foreign to the breed of boring accountants.  I must admit that I had then my own little apprehensions when he joined the firm with a background as a functionary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and that too a past President of the Institute and that again he became at a young age of just 34. I wrongly jumped to the conclusion that he must be a political person to have made it to the top position at such a young age especially when stalwarts had been past presidents. 

The Institute has no doubt produced some men of mettle and we were fortunate to have a few of the veterans don its mantle – professionals like Late S. Vaidyanath Aiyar, C.C. Chokshi, P. Brahmayya, R. Venkatesan, N.C. Krishnan, P.M. Narielvala, Y.H. Malegam , A.C. Chakrabortti and V. Rajaraman to name the most prominent amongst them. Frankly, I didn’t know that Rahul would fit that list. I was wrong. ​
As my interactions with him grew more intense, I knew I was very wrong to have judged him so abruptly. He was a brilliant accountant – technically very sound. His ability to cogently communicate and put forward convincing arguments were excellent.  And I also discovered that he was polite.  And very understated too. Extremely affable. A rare combination of so many enviable attributes in a young man of 36 years then!! I later discovered that has been the general secretary of the Calcutta Debating Society and that he served on a number of committees set up by the Reserve Bank of India (India's central bank), the Securities Exchange Board of India (India's securities regulator) and the Government of India. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. 
We became good friends and he always spent time with me discussing everything under the Sun except accountancy and its technicalities. When Pesi Narielwala passed away, Rahul wrote a piece in the Business Standard and he aptly described Pesi as the Nostradamus of the profession! He invited me to his home in Kolkatta and treated me to a vegetarian Bengali dinner. I met his wife Soma and his lovely daughter Rohini. I couldn’t reciprocate his gesture. I had left the firm in 2006 but Rahul continued to keep in touch with me. 
Rahul suddenly passed away at Kolkatta in November 2009 at the very young age of 46 years. I went to Kolkatta on 20thNovember to attend his funeral. I was shattered and inconsolable. How cruel to have snatched away and snubbed a bright star at this young age. 
I later read a blog by a gentleman Mr. V. Pattabi Ram who mentions that he had interviewed Rahul when he became President of the Institute. I quote him “I still remember how when I asked him what he proposed to do during his presidency he had said that he had a vested interest in doing well. When asked “Why?” he had remarked, tongue firmly in cheek, “As the youngest president, the law of nature decrees that I would be the longest surviving past president”.

Alas the law of Nature was cruel.

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