The unknown person’s influence on India’s largest stock exchange

The unknown person’s influence on India’s largest stock exchange


is India’s largest stock exchange with virtual monopoly in the derivative segment, where billions of contracts get traded. In fact, India’s premier bourse is the world’s largest when it comes with highest derivatives contracts getting traded.

Now, imagine a ‘Yogi’ sitting in the Himalayas having a significant influence on how the exchange is run. The bizarre happening has come to light in the order passed by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) against the exchange and its former MD& CEO Chitra Ramkrishna in the matter of governance lapses while appointing Anand Subramanian as its chief operating officer (COO) and advisor to Ramkrishna.

“SEBI’s examination found that the said unknown person had significantly influenced the decision making of Ramkrishna as reflected from the emails exchanged between them as pursued by Sebi,” stated the market regulator in its 190-page order.

The order talks about the former boss sharing the exchange’s confidential information such as organisational structure, financial results and human resources policy to this unknown person, who went by the email address [email protected].

Ramkrishna in her 2018 submission to said the person was Yogi Paramahansa who may be largely dwelling in the Himalayan ranges.

“He is a spiritual force who has been guiding her for the past 20 years and that as a spiritual force, their spiritual powers do not require them to have any such physical coordinates and would manifest at will,” the order stated referring to her statements.

ALSO READ: penalises NSE, former chiefs over lapses in senior-level hiring

The order stated that Ramkrishna, for the past 20 years, sought guidance from the unknown person on many personal and professional matters.

The correspondence between the Yogi and Ramkrishna, the Sebi order stated, makes it apparent that the former boss of held Anand Subramanian in the same light as her spiritual force, whom she greatly relied upon.

Sebi order says that the exchange’s board was aware of the exchange of confidential information between Yogi and Ramkrishna but “its board had taken a conscious decision to not report the matter to SEBI and keep the matter under wraps”.

The regulator has expressed disappointment with NSE’s board for not taking action against Ramkrishna and allowing her to quit gracefully.

“…in the Board meeting held on December 02, 2016, allowed Ramkrishna to exit through resignation despite having committed such bizarre misconduct as reflected from her email correspondence with a fictitious email address apparently belonging to Subramanian without taking any action in this regard.”

When a Sebi official quizzed Ramkrishna whether consultation with the Siddha Purusha violated the principle of governance when she could have sought guidance from NSE’s board on organizational matters, she replied: “I would like to state that all discussions and guidance that are sought from the board and or other available experts is always done. As an MD and CEO, before I am able to come to a perspective of my view only, the guidance is sought. It is only to enable me in my role to have a primary view. As we know, senior leaders often seek informal counsel from coaches, mentors or other seniors in this industry which are all purely informal in nature.

“In a similar strain I felt that this guidance would help me perform my role better. Being spiritual in nature there would never be a question of any confidentiality or integrity issues being compromised for the organization. There would be no question of any personal gain because of the information shared. Hence I felt that this would help me perform in the best interest.”

Sebi has penalised the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Ramkrishna and her predecessor Ravi Narain for governance lapses in hiring of its chief operating officer (COO) Anand Subramanian.

Ramkrishna has been directed to pay Rs 2 crore, while NSE, Narain and Subramanian have to pay Rs 2 crore each within 45 days.

Further, NSE has been barred from launching any new product for six months.

Ramkrishna and Subramanian have also been restrained from associating with any market infrastructure institution or Sebi-registered intermediary in any capacity for a period of three years and Narain for two years.

NSE has also been directed to forfeit the excess leave encashment of Rs 1.54 crore and the deferred bonus of Rs 2.83 crore of Ramkrishna.

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